Spring has been particularly gorgeous this year. Not a record breaker, but still one for my journal garden book. Everything seemed to bloom at the same time, making it especially lovely.
Plants hurrying to be the first to break bud in February were smart enough to cease opening up two weeks before the record breaking snowstorm.
What to do now? Clean up from the snowstorm and prepare for the rest of the seasons, spring through fall. Herbaceous plants experienced minor frost-bitten foliage tips, but that did not stop daffodils, hellebore, roses, trillium, and bay, star and tulip magnolias from blooming as snow was melting.
Next, plan and plant for the year. One of the trends this year is for monochromatic plantings. Not all the same intensity of color but from the palest to the darkest of the palette as well as size and shape. Perhaps emphasize yellow, the color of the year. Intersperse yellow among other colors, as it can be overpowering. Vary the shade and tone of yellow, the size of individual plants, shape, height and size of planting either intermingled or adjacent.
Intermingle marigolds, dahlias and zinnias. Pale yellows planted in the rear of the garden will visually extend the depth of a shallow garden. Strong yellow to yellow-orange will lead the eye through the garden drawing attention to specimen plants or secret garden. Underplant deep purple Nepata Walkers Low in front of Fireworks goldenrod to enhance its spidery flower stems.
White is my favorite, as it does double duty. It brightens the garden in the day and at night reflects ambient light. Add dogwoods, white forsythia and japonica quince, Shasta Daisy, or Perennial of the Year Clamintha Nepeta (dense, fragrant mint). The large white blooms of Annabelle can be overpowering. Plant with daylilies or dwarf Encore azaleas (evergreen, continual blooms of red, pink, orange or speckled) with Annabelle hydrangea, whose very large bloom heads can be overpowering.
THINGS TO DO
• Garden — Perform a bit of cosmetic pruning on snow-damaged foliage and no one will know the difference. Pull mulch from roses. Mulch no more than 3 inches, and avoid mulching up to a stem.
• Trees — Mid-to-late flowering shrubs and ornamental fruit trees are replacing garden flowers for attention. Wait until all flowering trees have ceased and dropped their flowers.
• Insects — Ants are invading homes. Home remedies include sprinkling powdered cinnamon where they enter, or spraying chlorine. Wipe up the ants and residue and ants will not soon return.
Wear head covering when in the garden to protect your head from ticks and the sun. Thoroughly check clothing when returning to the house. Do not wear the same clothes until laundered.
Wasps are active and attack only when feeling threatened. Spray nests if in a traffic pattern. For safety use a spray that has a 20-foot jet.
• Vegetables — It is safe to plant crops, as the soil temperature is 65. Protect crops from rabbits, who do not like spicy or strongly scented plants, by planting basil, garlic, mint and rhubarb. Unfortunately, kittens (babies) have to learn by experience. Plant along the perimeter and within.
• April 16, Free Hydrangea Webinar, National Garden Bureau, 11 a.m. to noon. Go to ngb.org to register.
Until April 16, Lyon County Master Gardeners Native Plant Sale. To order: lcmga.yosite.com, or 270-388-2341.
• April 24, Pick up Native Plants and attend free lectures, 8 a.m. to noon, UK Extension Office, Eddyville.
Contact Carolyn Roof, the Sun’s gardening columnist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.