ELAINE CERNY: MY GARDEN PATH — Enjoy those blooms!

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ELAINE CERNY/Special to The Press Some of my favorite irises.

Is May flying by, or is it just my imagination? Everywhere you look, things are in bloom — from big trees to short bulbs and perennials. The extra warm weather we had earlier was nice, but it cut short the lives of a lot of those.

It’s time for quite a few springtime chores that need to be done now. These include:

• Trim lilac bushes if they’re too tall.

• Dig in systemic around Virginia creepers.

• Fertilize roses and other early bloomers.

• Fertilize raspberry bushes.

• Adjust sprinkler timers.

There are more, but these are the ones that come to mind right now. There is only a one-month window for cutting back lilac bushes after they finish blooming. Any later will cut off next year’s buds.

The systemic will stop the leaf suckers from destroying your VA creeper leaves. If those granules are dug in around the roots at this time, the vine will stay looking good all summer. If not … you don’t want to go there.

You won’t need to buy any special fertilizer for your raspberry plants if you have some leftover lawn fertilizer, that works just fine. That’s what I use.

If you live locally, be sure to admire the Post Falls arboretum. This consists of a strip of land located on both sides of the interstate, between Idaho and Spokane streets. The parks department has planted and maintains a huge variety of trees and shrubs along there with many in full bloom now.

When deciding where to have a vegetable garden spot, be sure to choose a place that gets six to eight hours of sunshine. That’s what most of those plants require. You can get away with less if you’re planting things that just produce tops … things like lettuce. Root crops need more sunshine.

Be diligent about cleaning those hummingbird feeders. They’ll need it twice a week when the weather warms up. Also, scrub out the birdbaths at least once a week. Did you know that you can entice more songbirds to your yard with a birdbath than with seed feeders?

Don’t get excited if you see ants on your peony buds. Contrary to the old wives’ tale … ants are not needed for them to open. The ants are only after the honeydew, which is left behind by aphids.

This is the perfect time to plant up those patio pots. Just be sure to use fairly large ones. You don’t want anything smaller that a foot across … bigger is even better. Those small pots will need to be watered twice a day all summer. I’m sure you have better things to do with your time.

I hope you’re winning the annual War of the Dandelions. It is a constant battle, but very rewarding if and when you can look across the lawn and see NO fuzzy yellow blooms popping up. Good luck!

• • •

Elaine Cerny has gardened most of her life, starting in 4-H. She has belonged to garden clubs in three states and is currently serving as secretary for the River City Gardeners Club in Post Falls. Her column appears in the Press every other Sunday from early March to late October. Email: eandtjcerny @aol.com

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