Spring to do list…

Now that the days are getting longer, that only means one thing…spring is around the corner!  So let’s take a minute and plan out our spring to do list.

First things first you’ll want to do a thorough clean up of the planting beds and lawn.  This means removing leaf debris, cutting back perennials and removing dead plants.  After the beds are clean this is also a great time to edge the planting beds from the lawn.

Now you can focus on the living plant material.  You’ll want to prune shrubs and ornamentals of any crossing, broken, dead or diseased branches.  Just this small step leads to a healthier more robust plant.  It’s also a great time to divide some perennials.  You’ll know it’s time to divide when a clump has overgrown its space, has diminished flowering, or the clump starts to die out in the middle.  Spring flowering perennials are best divided after they flower, but most other later flowering perennials will be just fine divided in the spring.

As you are surveying your landscape be sure to pull any weeds you see, it’s amazing how fast they pop up so best to keep on top of them.  A final finishing touch to the garden is to add a layer of mulch to the beds.  This will help prevent new weeds from growing and protect your newly divided perennials as they begin to grow.

Next up is the lawn.  Spring is a great time to fix it up.  As it begins to dry up it’s a great time to dethatch the grass, this is the method of using a rake or a dethatching machine to gently remove the layer of dead grass (thatch) that has built up in the lawn.  You’ll want to do this before the lawn really takes off.   Be sure to patch up any areas of bare/dead spots with some grass seed.  The final step is to fertilize your lawn and while you’re at it you can hit those planting beds as well.

The last and final touch to the landscape is to add some fun colorful early annuals (to learn more about early annuals check out this blog).  Just a sprinkling of pansies or some forced bulbs in planters can really brighten the landscape!

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April Showers bring May Flowers!

At least that’s what we are hoping for!

In the landscape business, winter is quiet, so looking ahead to spring is one of the highlights. One of the fun parts, is selecting new plant material to grow in our nursery. We select plants based on how they’ll fare in our climate and soil, as well as how they enhance the selection already grown in our nurseries. We give them a good start with a special soil blend which includes vermicompost. They are then cared for by our dedicated nursery team! We are looking forward to seeing these plants blooming in our hoop huts and in your gardens soon.

Here are just a few of the new plants we will introduce into our palette of plants!

Campanula poscharskyana ‘Blue Waterfall’
Height: 8-10”
Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Flower color: Blue
Bloom time: May-July
This is a lovely cascading plant would make a great addition to any garden. The delicate blue bell-shaped flowers reach out, fall, from the center of Campanula Blue Waterfall. It would also look nice cascading over a rock wall, along the edge of a garden walkway or in a window box.

Dicentra spectabilis ‘Valentine’
Height: 24-30”
Exposure: Part shade to shade
Flower Color: Red
Bloom time: May-June
This old fashioned Bleeding Heart features arching spikes of cherry-red, heart-shaped blooms with white tips held on dark burgundy stems. The delicate ferny foliage matures to an attractive powdery grey-green.

Echinacea ‘Solar Flare’
Height: 24-30”
Exposure: Full sun
Flower Color: Deep Rosy Orange Red
Bloom time: June-September
These large flowers have petals that start out a deep rosy orange red that fade to a smoky rose. Plants are strong and bushy in habit with near-black stems. Attractive to butterflies and excellent for cutting.

Nepeta subsessilis ‘Sweet Dreams’
Height: 12-18”
Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Flower Color: Pink
Bloom time: July-September
This unique Catmint is Lovely in an herb or flower garden, among Roses, or near walkways where its scent can be appreciated. It is covered with spikes of pale pink to pink flowers throughout the summer months.

Perovskia atriplicifolia ‘Lacey Blue’
Height: 18-20”
Exposure: Full sun
Flower Color: Lavender blue
Bloom time: June-September
This compact Russian Sage forms a bushy mound of fragrant grey-green leaves, with spikes of lavender-blue flowers from mid-summer to fall giving it a long season of interest. Great for smaller gardens and terrific in mixed containers.

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Wake up!

So as us humans slowly wake up from our semi hibernation, you’ll soon notice that nature is waking up as well. It’s never too early to think about your landscape!

In the coming weeks, as the temperatures rise and the snow melts, we’ll begin to see the first signs of spring. Bulbs will peek up out of the ground, grass will slowly turn from brown to green and the buds on trees and shrubs will begin to swell for soon the leaves will burst out for spring. Rejoice!

spring bulbs

But let’s get ahead of the game and think about our landscape now, even if there is still snow on the ground. Big picture: set a goal for your landscape! Maybe you would like to add a new planting bed, rearrange the perennial garden or update your patio (maybe even create a built in grill!).

Here are some tips for spring:

  • Now is a great time to do some dormant pruning. Prune trees and shrubs for corrective measures by removing cross branches and dead/diseased parts of the plants. Just wait on those spring blooming plants or you’ll be sacrificing those beautiful spring blooms!
  • Start planning your garden. This is the time to peruse your garden catalogs and make a list of your must get plants!
  • Once the snow is gone it’s time to dig out the garden gloves and get to cleaning up the garden. Remove dead plants, old bedding plants, etc. Clean up leaf debris, cut back perennials. Once you have a clean slate, it’s time to mulch the garden.
  • Get your lawn ready by using a pre-emergent before the weeds take over. Fix the areas affected by winter damage with some soil and seed. Once the grass begins to grow, resume watering.
  • Don’t forget about annuals. You’ll want to prepare your planting beds or containers for them. Feeling inspired you can plant an early spring container to welcome spring! These include forced bulbs and frost friendly annuals. Be sure to wait until your area is frost free to plant summer annuals.

Remember that goal you set, make sure to incorporate that in your “to-do” list.

The work is never done in the landscape, but once spring has sprung and you’ve tackled your to-do list you can start to enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Is your goal to big for you tackle yourself?

Contact Van Zelst Inc.  to help you meet that goal!

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