Tending the Garden – March 28, 2016

Florist Hydrangea leafing out of flowering stems

Florist hydrangea leafing out of flowering stems

Potted hyacinths after flowering ready for transplanting

Potted hyacinths after flowering ready for transplanting

With a beautiful day after an Easter rain, lots of chores are now ready to be done in the garden. Be careful when cutting dead wood out of your florist hydrangeas. If the dead looking stems are budding out, they are the stems that will produce the flowers this summer so do not cut them. Only cut out dead limbs now, not green ones, because they can still leaf out. I only remove the limbs I can break out at the base.
If you have bulbs in pots that have finished blooming, you can take them out of the pot, separate them, and replant in the garden. Hyacinths, daffodils, and callas do well in the garden. Unfortunately, tulips need to go into the compost pile because they will not come back and bloom again next year.
While it is too late to prune roses, today I removed stray shoots, dead limbs, and crossed branches out of my old fashioned pink rose. While late, it needed to be done, and I will still have a profusion of flowers, but just fewer. Some chores you don’t get to at the right time, you can do a bit later, and this is a good example.
Spray annual weeds in the turf, especially the wild onions, with a product containing 2,4-D. Be sure you coat the leaves thoroughly with the spray, and you should be seeing the plants wilt in a few days.
Lots of vines are putting out new shoots now. Today, I removed long runners out of my woodbine or trumpet honeysuckle, as the shoots were going to hide the flowers. Be sure and cut the long shoots back to their original source. Other vines that are spring and summer bloomers can be done this way now.
I seeded squash in styrofoam cups with holes punched in the bottom. By doing them in this type cup or paper cups, we can plant them in the garden by removing the bottom half of the cup and placing the plant and the top half of the cup, leaving the slip lip above the ground as a means to deter squash vine borer. I will wait until after April 15, to plant them in my veggie garden. It is also time to seed cucumbers, beans, tomatoes, and other summer vegetables in containers to be transplanted to the garden after the danger of frost has passed.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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