Keep bird feeders full
Reviewing the year in our gardenSpathiphyllum Urn is something we all do not do or take enough time to do. What was right , what did not work and how are you going to correct or improve on the situation. This sounds like work and it is. First make a list then prioritize the list by seasonal timing, money, and what drives you crazy. Remember a weed in any plant in the wrong place.
Purchase flower and vegetable seeds
Fibrous Begonias are started now in a fine soilless mix such as Peter's Professional Mix. You can find this or similar products at your local garden center. For easy handling purchase pelletized seed and place them on the surface of the growing medium and then  gently water in. Do not cover the seed and place in a bright area with a constant 70 degree temperature. Mist regularly to prevent drying out. A weekly half strength 20-20-20 fertilizer is used after plants are well up. Fibrous Begonias are best started under artificial lights running 14 to 18 hours per day until sizable plants are produced and can be moved to bright indirectly lit windows until spring planting.
Forcing of prepared bulbs (Paper whites, Amaryllis)
Check your summer bulbs in storage for dry and wet rot. wet rot will result in a stinky mushy mess. One bulb in this condition will allow the spread of the root throughout the rest of your bulbs. Dry rot is just as devastating but the bulbs become light weight and dry. Remove infected bulbs and redust with a soil and bulb dust. For proper summer bulb storage information go to
Remove heavy snow loads from evergreens
Forcing flowering branches from deciduous flowering shrubs. Select branches from your Spiraea, Forsythia, Flowering Almond, Deutzia, Flowering Quince 
and Red Bud. Select branches that are least 1 foot long with many large flower buds.
Place frozen branches in a bucket of cool water in a 60°F location with indirect light 
for 24 hours. Then transfer the, into warmer water(60-70°F) and under water make a vertical slit 2 to 3 inches up the stem. Check the branches frequently; they will need regular misting to prevent buds from drying out. BRANCHES WILL BLOOM AT DIFFERENT TIMES.


Take Geranium and Fuchsia cuttings
Fibrous Begonias and Geraniums. Erica carnea Pink HeatherThe partial shade loving Fibrous Begonias are started in a fine soilless mix such as Peter's Professional Mix. You can find this at your local garden center. For easy handling purchase pelletized seed and place them on the surface of the growing medium and gently water in. Do not cover the seed and place in a bright area with a constant 70 degree temperature. Mist regularly to prevent drying out. A weekly half strength 20-20-20 fertilizer is used after plants are well up. Fibrous Begonias are best started under artificial lights running 14 to 18 hours per day until sizable plants are produced and can be moved to bright indirectly it windows until spring planting.
Prune grapes
Forced bulbs should be brought out of cold storage

Review your garden maps. What you do not have a map of your garden! Now is the time to start one. The map is in your head but no one can read your mind. Sit down and do a rough map indicating what you can remember. In the coming growing season as you are pausing to smell the roses refine the map.

Seed sowing time. The time to start sowing seeds is nigh. Visit your local garden center and pick up seed trays, damp off, soilless seeding mix, seeds, watering can, mister, labels and a waterproof marker. Remember to follow the instructions on the seed package as some seeds require light to germinate while others may require darkness or a certain day length. They may also require special day and night temperatures.

Fighting snow mould. In the northeast snow mould is a problem. The easiest way to combat snow mould is as soon as the snow goes take a leaf rake and gently rake the infected areas. This usually eliminates the problem but you may have to over seed the area later in the spring. These areas are usually where the grass has been left too long or where the snow has been piled up along sidewalks and driveways.


Seeding tomatoes. Start seeding tomatoes now for planting out on May 24th weekend. For indeterminate tomatoes start them one week later because they have a tendency to stretch becoming difficult to manage.

Start Tuberous Begonias–Cannas, Caladiums, Dahlias

Starting summer flowering bulbs.Icicle Pansy  Canna Lilies are started horizontally in a tray or pot each piece of tuber should have three eyes. Tuberous Begonia corms are just gently pushed into the soil surface. Please make sure that when watering that The water can not flow into the depression on the top of the corm. Dahlias are potted vertically so that the eye is at the ground level in the pot. Do not plant pieces of the Dahlia root with no eye as they are blind and will not grow.

Houseplant fertilizing. As your houseplants become actively growing fertilize them. Use a fertilizer in a proportion of 3:1:2 for most of your Houseplants. If they are flowering houseplants use a high middle number in the proportion to encourage extra flowering.

Prune fruit trees and grapes
Start cold crop vegetables
Young perennials leaving home. Young perennial plants are susceptible to being frost heaved. Gently push them back into the ground to protect their roots from the sun, wind, and cold.
Apply a dormant spray to deciduous plants when the buds are swelling but not broken. Use a combination of both dormant oil and liquid lime sulphur for control of over wintering insects and disease.


Early spring lawn care. YouTrillum Grandiflorum should thatch your lawn with a de thatching rake or every few years you can De thatch with a de thatching machine. Cut your lawns in the northern climates to 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 inches high and bag the debris to be composted. Fertilize at spring rates with a high quality slow release turf grass fertilizer. If Crabgrass has been a problem then use a Crabgrass Preventer.

Spring bed preparation. Dig in the winter mulch of manure into the soil of your flower and vegetable gardens. Add more organic material such as leaf mould compost or grass clippings. Broadcast and then rake in a granular flower and vegetable fertilizer. Lastly do a final grading of the bed to prepare for direct seeding and transplanting. 

Cold crop tolerant seeds and transplant can be planted out now. Seeds such as peas, radishes and onions can be seeded now. The cold crop transplants after being hardened off can be planted now. Some of these are broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and onions.

Plant trees, shrubs, evergreens & roses

Early spring rose care. As the weather stabilizes you can unhill your roses. Once unhilled you should prune out the dead or damaged rose canes on your Hybrid Teas, Grandifloras, and Floribundas. These are each pruned to 3 to 5 canes with three to five buds per cane. The  top most bud on each cane should point away from the center of the plant. Fertilize at this time with a high quality rose food.

Feed established perennial beds
Transplant large cactus and succulents
Seed cold tolerant seeds (Peas, Radishes, onions)
Renovate overgrown shrubs e.g. Privet, lilacs


Plant and harvest asparagus and horseradish

Planting flowers and vegetablesYellow Primula wait until after the last chance of frost and the soil temperatures are 60For more for some tropical annuals such as Madagascar Periwinkle. Prepare their soil by digging in copious amounts of organic material such as leaf mould, peat moss or compost. Use transplant fertilizer on your flower and vegetable transplants. Tropical transplants such tomatoes and peppers will benefit from cloches or tomato greenhouses.

As your spring flowering bulbs finish flowering remove the spent Flower heads. Remember to leave the flower stem and leaves attached to the bulb. After dead heading fertilize your spring flowering bulbs with Holland Bulb Booster or a fertilizer similar to 4:8:12. Do not remove or injure the stem and leaves until they are completely yellow and brown.

Now is the primetime for planting new perennials.  Prepare the soil by digging in copious amounts of organic materials such as leaf mould, peat moss or compost. After planting water the perennials in with a transplant fertilizer. 

Time for a haircut now is an excellent time to give your junipers, cedars, yews a light trim.  They should look like they did not have a haircut  when you are finished. Do not let the sensation or power go to your head slow down and look at what you are trimming. After trimming them feed them with an evergreen food such as 30:10:10 fertilizer. Yews should receive the least amount of fertilizer with Cedars receiving the most. The Junipers should receive just an average amount.

Plant out summer flowering bulbs i.e. Gladiolus, Dahlias

Tropical water lilies as your decorative water lily ponds start to show signs of plant growth you can set out your tropical water lilies. This usually happens when the Water temperatures have reached 70 to 75 degrees F. Remember to feed them at this time.


Seed flowering Kale and cold crop vegetables for second crop in fall
Begin cutting lawns slightly higher.Variegated Boxwood Your lawn should receive one inch of moisture every five to seven days. This depends on the day and night temperatures. The water should be applied in early morning and at one time. No sprinkling here, sprinkling there. Use a rain gauge or a cup or mug to measure the water being applied.
Prune actively growing evergreens
Tropical plants can be moved outdoors

Lawn weed control. Control your weeds now before the summer heat and drought. Spray or hand pull your weeds and crabgrass. Your turf grass should receive its summer fertilization and the mowing height should be 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches high.

Early spring flowering perennial care.
Your early spring flowering perennials such as Arabis
and Iberis need to be trimmed back after flowering. If 
you have not fertilized them recently then feed them with a good quality perennial fertilizer such as 7:11:9

Dead heading your garden. Removal of the spent flowers on your plants stops seed development. This focuses the plants energy into root and top growth. After dead heading fertilize with the appropriate fertilizer. For example Rhododendrons Food, Rose Food, Clematis Food, Tree & Shrub Food.

Pruning spring flowering shrubs. Spring flowering shrubs can be pruned now. Very old established shrubs can be rejuvenated by pruning out some of the oldest stalks to the ground level. This will result in a younger more vigorous shrub. At times this type of rejuvenating pruning results in a ungainly shrub. If this happens then a light cutting back of the branch tips will look after their untidy appearance. This tip pruning can reduce the amount of flowers next year. Feed your shrubs at this time with a tree & shrub food.

Stake tall growing perennials
Seed perennials i.e. Delphiniums, Coreopsis, Gallardias, Geums, etc.


Trimming Chrysanthemums  
July 1st is the time to trim your fall blooming chrysanthemums. You may trim them back to any height you wish. (generally the shorter the better). Trimming at this time will time your 
mums to bloom ten weeks later. By trimming some of your mums 
five to ten days apart you can vary their blooming time. 

Trimming Spring Flowering Shrubs
Spring flowering shrubs are trimmed back after flowering removing
the spent flower heads. Very old flowering shrubs can be rejuvenated by removing the oldest stalk to the ground. This may reduce your flowering just for the next blooming season. It may be necessary to give some branches a light trim to neaten up the plants overall shape.

Cut lawns at least 2 ˝ inches high
Final feeding of Azalea and Rhododendrons Purple Rhododendron
Cut back straggly annuals & deadhead others & feed
Prune birch and maple trees
Seed pansies in late July for autumn bloom

Ensure adequate moisture levels are maintained for all of your plants and turf grass. Use a rain gauge. Reduce moisture demand by using mulches such as pine bark and cedar mulch.  In your vegetable garden use a thick layer of not coloured newspapers. On top of the newspapers apply thin layers of grass clippings as they become available.

Summer Transplanting and Dividing
You can transplant and divide Bleeding Hearts; Oriental Poppies and
Madonna Lilies. Please make sure the you amend the soil with organic matter using peat moss, leaf mould or compost. Use a transplant fertilizer and ensure adequate moisture throughout August and September.


Sow Lisianthus for April bloom

You can transplant and divide Eustoma Forever Blue  LisianthusHerbaceous Peonies and Bearded Iris this month. Make sure that you mix in copious amounts of organic material into the soil when planting your Herbaceous Peonies and Bearded Irises. Use peat moss, compost, or leaf mould. Add transplant fertilizer to the water used to water in the new transplants. The Iris rhizome must show above the soil at all times. Plant the transplants on a ridge of soil with their roots nestled down in the amended soil.

June seeded perennials can be transplanted to the garden

You can repair damaged lawn by removing the debris. Next scratch in some organic material. Then grade the area and apply a seed and sod fertilizer. Now seed the area. Then very lightly rake the area combining the soil, fertilizer and seed. Very lightly tamp the mixture down and add moisture. Keep the area moist until all grass seed is germinated and doing well.

Fall cold crop transplants are planted in the garden
Lawns need one inch of moisture every 7-10 days

You can seed directly your garden in a well prepared soil in your garden your second crop vegetables. These second crop vegetables include Radishes, Beets, and Carrots.

Your June bearing Raspberries can be pruned to remove old fruiting canes. They are pruned out to the ground. Excessive new shoots can be removed to maintain your rows.

Mid to late August is a good time to control the white grubs in your lawn. If the young white grub population numbers 5 or more per square foot then treatment is necessary for a healthy lawn. Apply a registered pesticide according to the label directions.


Fall planting season is upon us. Lord Baltimore Hibiscus It is time to plant evergreens, trees, shrubs, and most perennials. Remember to improve the soil with organic matter such as peat moss or compost. Use a transplant fertilizer. Maintain an adequate level of moisture throughout the autumn season.

Harvest early grapes after first frost

Now is the time to fertilize your lawn with a high nitrogen fertilizer at regular recommended rates. This will ensure new growth and allow the lawn to recover from the summer stresses as the weather cools and the amount of rain increases. You can start to slowly decrease the cutting height of the lawn.

Your vacationing houseplants should come in before the frost gets them. The exception is the florist azalea, which stays out with frost protection until the flower buds are well developed. They are then moved into a cool bright area where they will bloom.

Lift tender summer bulbs for winter storage before hard freeze
Air dry onions for storage
Transplant and divide Spuria and Siberian Iris in early September
Prepare and seed lawns

September is the prime time to plant your spring flowering bulbs. It is best to plant your narcissus, daffodils and hyacinths first. The early flowering spring bulbs should be planted later to try and avoid having them bloom in the autumn. Remember to use a bulb dust to reduce the chances of rot and bulb food to encourage rooting in the Autumn.

Transplant Tree Peonies


Spring flowering bulbs can still Red Cactus Dalhiabe planted until the ground freezes. If there is just a thin frozen crust you may break the crust and continue planting your spring flowering bulbs. Late planting may delay their blooming time for the first spring only.

Transplant trees and shrubs, evergreens if necessary & wrap in burlap
Dig and store summer flowering bulbs

Remove flower and vegetable debris and dig the gardens to remove the soil compaction in the aisles. After digging the garden at least once mulch the gardens with composted manure and leave on top for the winter.

Lift and pot young herb plants use a transplant fertilizer to minimize transplant shock. They are moved into a cool moist sunny area to grow and harvest in the winter months. Additional lighting with florescent lights may be necessary.
Feed lawns with high nitrogen fertilizer 21-7-7

Next years disease and insect control starts this autumn with the removal of garden debris such as tall weeds, grass and leaves. Over wintering diseases on leaves and plant parts will explode into life with the first early spring rain. Insects make a small pile of leaves a cozy winter home.

Plant and transplant hardy herbaceous perennials

Mulch your winter carrots, leeks, parsnip, and salisfy with large amounts of straw. This should allow you to harvest them throughout the winter.


Soak soil around evergreens before freeze up
Plant Paper whites and Amaryllis for December, January blooming

To increase the winter Rose Golden Showershardiness of your roses hill them as high as you can. This can be done with soil from another area in the garden. Never pull the soil up from around the plant. This removes the protective soil layer. Compost and composted manure can also be used as winter mulch.

Lisianthus seeded for June bloom
Winter protection of young trees against mice is important. Place plastic tree guards around the trunks of the trees. Wrap as high or higher than the expected snow depth. Animal repellents can be applied now as per manufacturer's instruction
Burlap or net evergreens

In colder areas your tree roses and edible figs are buried for the winter. Dig a trench and line with straw. Bend over the tree rose or edible figs into a deep trench add more straw and cover over with soil. The soil can be covered with bags of autumn leaves to add extra insulation in colder climates. Tiles can be placed throughout the bags and even in the trench. In each tile place mouse and rat bait.

Plant spring bulbs for winter forcing

Northern lawns must be cut short for the winter to protect the turfgrass from suffocating themselves under heavy snow loads. In particular where snow is piled from driveways, sidewalks and roads. This will also help reduce snow mould in the spring.

After your Everbearing Raspberries have finished producing fruit you can cut them down to 6 to 8 inches tall. This will time your crop to ripen again next autumn.


Have a great Holiday Season!

Use the limbs and small Winter Rose Poinsettiabranches from your seasonal arrangements and holiday trees to provide some winter protection of your tender perennials, evergreens and flowering shrubs.

 Time to buy holiday gifts for all the gardeners you know. These may include magazine subscriptions, gift certificates or a load of composted manure to be delivered in the spring. When all else fails give a gift certificates. Gardeners will either know exactly what they want or they will muse and browse for hours on how to spend the money.

Clean and store your garden tools. Drain the water from your hoses before storing them for the winter. It's also a good idea to scrub clay pots with a solution of one part household bleach to nine parts water before putting them away for the winter. Use a stiff brush to scrub off the mineral deposits (white crust), rinse thoroughly and store the pots in the garage or garden shed. Garden tools can be cleaned by using a bucket filled with a sand-oil mixture. Fill up a 5-gallon bucket with clean, dry sand, and then lightly saturate the sand with new motor oil. When you are done using your tools like shovels, forks and spades, scrape off excess soil and plunge them up and down in the mix. Small tools like trowels, scratches, weeders and others can also be cleaned the same way. Wipe the tools dry before storing.

Take hard wood cuttings of your deciduous trees and shrubs. Cut short sections of the hardwood branches. Each section should have 3 sets of buds. Dip the bottom end of each section into #3 rooting hormone. Bundle the sections together and bury them in a good well drained moist soil outside. They are buried with two buds below the soil and one above. Leave them buried for the winter. In the spring gently lift the bundles and plant out into a growing on bed any of the sections that are rooted. Do not forget to use a transplant fertilizer.

Garden review and planning starts now!
Copyright 2002