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April 2007

Month by Month in the Perennial Garden

January:

Relax and read gardening magazines, books and catalogues to collect inspiration and ideas.

February:

Take a critical look at your winter landscape: make notes for improvements to be made during the coming season.

March:

Check perennials (Heucheras, etc.) for frost heave and gently press back into soil.

Begin top dressing beds with time release fertilizer.

Cut back perennials and ornamental grasses left standing for winter interest.

April:

Weed! Weed! Weed! Minutes spent now can save hours of labor later. Be sure to work carefully around late-to-emerge perennials like Hibiscus.

As soil warms, gently remove any winter mulches placed over perennial crowns last Fall.

May:

Visit local nurseries and garden centers. Make your selections and start planting!

If you had problems with slugs last year, begin control strategies now. Hand picking, beer traps or new molluscicides containing iron phosphate are all safer alternatives to poisonous baits.

June:

Prune or trim spring bloomers as they finish blooming.

Begin deadheading faded blossoms on summer bloomers for prolonged flower show.

Pinch back fall bloomers like chrysanthemums and asters.

Maintain consistent moisture, especially for new plantings.

Keep a sharp look-out for garden pests like japanese beetles.

July:

Continue deadheading and dead-leafing.

Finish applying fertilizers by end of month.

Continue to monitor rainfall amounts and water as necessary to maintain moisture.

August:

Look at gardens critically to make notes for autumn planting and transplanting.

Enjoy the continuing bloom show on all those plants you have been so faithfully deadheading.

September:

Fall IS for planting! Divide and transplant spring and early summer bloomers. Fill in gaps with new plants. A great time to plant Iris' and Peonies.

October:

Begin cutting back perennials killed by frost and those not to be left standing for winter show.

Remember NOT TO OVER PRUNE evergreen or semi-evergreen plants.

If weather is dry, sunny and warm, continue watering beds, especially newly planted areas.

November:

Remember that, until the ground freezes, evergreen plants like conifers and Rhododendrons may still need watering occasionally.

Apply winter protection mulches (chopped dry leaves, evergreen boughes) after several hard frosts.

December:

Make holiday wish lists for you and all your gardening friends.

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