Monday, April 1, 2013


We've had a long, cold winter in the northeast, and although it's technically been spring for a few weeks, it has really only started to feel like spring the last few days. Saturday was the first day I've been able to get outside in the garden and start to get ready for the upcoming growing season. It was so exciting to push some of the dead leaves away and see some signs of life. The first thing to come up in our garden is, of course, the daffodils. They began blooming just in time for Easter.

Here in central Pennsylvania it's too early to plant annuals. You should wait until the danger of frost is gone. The safe bet is Memorial Day, but I can usually get away with planting annuals around May 15. Even though May 15 seems like a long time from now, there are still some things you can do to get your yard ready.

1. Cut away any dead parts of your perennials. This weekend I did that with my sedum, black-eyed susans, and yarrow. It's important that you make sure sure you can see some new growth before you do this. You should not do this to shrub-like plants like lavender or thyme. Wait until the middle of May to trim these plants back.

You can see the green, new growth.  I've cut back most of the dead, woody stalks,
 but I've left a little bit there.

Bachelor button is looking good!

2.  Cut off your ornamental grasses.  I recently read a tip to tape around the grass or use bungee cords around the grass to make this process a little more neat.

Oops!  I see a weed I need to pull under the grass.  Ugh!
3.  Prune Russian sage, Butterfly bush, and rose bushes.  It's a good idea to add some fertilizer after pruning.

4.  Prepare soil.  I have a small vegetable garden that is weed infested  I sprayed Round-Up in that area and in a week or two I'll turn the ground over and add some compost.

Herb Garden
Weed infested vegetable garden.  :-)
Some of my favorite signs that life is returning to the garden. . .

New growth on a hydrangea.  I was worried that it may have died at the end of last summer.

A tiny yellow blossom on dwarf forsythia.
I hope you have some lovely weather to get out and get working in the garden.  Now is the perfect time to get some work done, so you can enjoy your garden later!


  1. Here's a tip for your blue flowering hydrangeas: To get your blossoms blue, add an acidic fertilizer such as Holly Tone or Aluminum Sulfate. Most Hydrangeas bloom on old and new growth, so unless you need to control the size of your Hydrangea, do not prune! You should also sprinkle Holly Tone around acid loving plants such as Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Pieris, and evergreens. You can also use coffee grounds to make the soil more acidic. Butterfly bushes should be trimmed to about 8 inches from the ground. They bloom on new growth. I like to wait until I see new leaves coming out at the base of the plant.

    1. Thanks Larissa! I'll be using some of those tips around my garden!