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MY GARDEN PATH: Happy April!

by ELAINE CERNY/Special to The Press
| April 3, 2022 1:00 AM

Now that April Fools' Day has come and gone, we can relax and enjoy spring. The yards are full of things that need doing. Hard to know where to start.

If your lawn isn't looking good, you may need to do a bit of thatching and/or aerating.

For thatching, you'll just need to rake off any dead leaves, needles and weeds. For aeration, you may need to hire a professional who has a machine which can pull out little plugs of lawn soil. This may look odd but the lawn will benefit from the little openings which increase the ability to absorb fertilizer and water. Drainage will be much improved. Those little plugs will soon disappear back into the soil.

Most of our area greenhouses open for business around April first. Make a visit to one or two and see what they've got to offer. You'll be glad you did.

Now that the leaf buds are fattening up on the clematis vines, we can go ahead and trim the vines back. Just keep in mind the cardinal rule: Cut late blooming varieties down to only one set of leaf buds. Leave early blooming varieties taller; Don't cut as short but leave several sets of leaf buds on those vines.

After you've cut down the overwintered stalks of your perennials, go ahead and prune those rose bushes as they should be about to sprout new leaves. Give them a dose of “balanced” fertilizer and watch them take off.

By “balanced,” I mean having all three numbers. Later on you can concentrate on the middle, (flower producing) number. This early in the year, plants need all three.

If you have an automated watering system, now is the time to get it turned back on. In either case, it's time to get the hoses out of storage and hooked up. Also, go ahead and get out the lawn chairs and other patio furniture. Spring is here!

Indoors, remember to move those sun sensitive African violets to a shadier location. Once those leaves get sun damaged, they won't be happy and neither will you.

Thinking ahead, I see that Easter is only two weeks from now. That reminds me of a true story. One April, I was working with a gal who told me she had to run to the grocery store after work and get some eggs. Then she went on to say that she was going to hatch out some baby chicks for Easter. Told me she'd just put them on a heat pad for a while and then they'd hatch out. I had to explain to her that this was never going to happen. She was wondering why so I had to explain to her that this was just another case of the “birds and the bees.” Those mother hens had never even seen a rooster, therefore, no baby chicks would be hatching out. You should have seen the look on her face. Aah, city people!

If you're not a fan of morning, here's a slogan you can use: “I may rise but I won't shine.”

• • •

Elaine Cerny has gardened most of her life, starting in 4-H. She has belonged to garden clubs in three states and is currently an active member of the River City Gardeners Club in Post Falls. Her column has appeared in The Press every other Sunday from early March until late October for the past 12 years.

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Elaine Cerny