Monday, June 24, 2024

My Garden Path: Happy Easter to one and all

by ELAINE CERNY/Special to The Press
| April 17, 2022 1:00 AM

Happy Easter everyone! At last, we can truly say that spring is here. The days are getting longer and (hopefully) getting warmer.

Most of us gardeners have more work staring us in the face than we can count. First of all was (is) the cleanup. Raking up all the debris collected from last fall and over winter is a lot of work. Hopefully, most of that is behind you by now.

Be sure to spread lawn fertilizer where it's needed. No point in putting it on areas in full shade as grass just does not do well there. You'll have better luck growing something else that flourishes in shady areas.

Speaking of lawns, you probably have a few areas where the grass is thin, if not nonexistent. Scratch up the soil there and spread some grass seed. Cover with a thin layer of soil and wet with a fine spray. Try to keep those areas wet and soon you should have new grass seedlings started.

You may need to prune some things back as a lot of them are leafing out right now. This does not apply to trees as they DO NOT like to be pruned back now. Remember their mantra, “Prune any time EXCEPT when they're leafing out or losing leaves.”

On most flowering bushes, you'll want to wait until after they've finished blooming to prune. This includes things like lilacs and hydrangeas.

As for roses, you still have time to prune those as most are trying to leaf out but not develop buds yet. Remember to cut each branch back to an outward facing bud so the center of the plant doesn't become crowded. Crowding creates an ideal place for the plant to develop powdery mildew, blackspot and other ailments.

If you've become the owner of a nice big Easter lily, care includes: a nice sunny area indoors, not being allowed to dry out and the knowledge that these are not hardy for our area. Once they're done blooming, you might as well toss them out as they just don't do well here. I've tried keeping them over without much success. We do grow quite a few lily varieties here, but not those grown for Easter. Of course, you may have better luck than I've had.

Don't get in a big hurry to plant most things as it is just too early in the season. Remember, the date of our last “killing” frost is May 15 and even that is often too early. Always check the weather forecast. If it says the nights will drop down under 40, wait a while. Most will do much better if it stays above 50 at night.

In the meantime, keep those starter plants going indoors. I'm talking about tomato plants, dahlias, marigolds, etc. Just because you see these for sale in some stores, do not jump to the conclusion that it's time to plant them here. If you're tempted, be sure to ask someone “in the know,” whether it's OK to plant a certain thing now. Longtime gardeners will steer you in the right direction.

You may already be seeing hummingbirds as they normally arrive here about April 15. If so, get out those feeders and enjoy the little guys. While you're at it, take down the suet. It will turn rancid quickly in the warmer weather and that can make the birds sick.

True statement: "I'm not getting older, I just need to be repotted."

• • •

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.


Elaine Cerny