Back From London...
It is hard to know where to begin. Spring is everywhere! The
Redbuds, Bradford Pears, Magnolias and Forsythia are in full
bloom. When flying into Kansas City Sunday evening, after having
spent a week in London, I could not believe how everything had
come to life. It was delightful coming home to warm weather. We
weren't so lucky in London. Beautiful yes
It even snowed one day. One word describes it well - dreadful
(the weather, not the sites). The next
time we go we'll have to go in late May or June - when it is
warmer. That will be the time to tour Kew Gardens and the
English countryside. Things we didn't get to do this time. A
great trip nonetheless.
I got to
mow the lawn today. Notice how I said "got" to mow. I love
mowing the lawn. I love the way it looks when I am finished and
I love the smell of fresh cut grass. I even love to edge. It
boils down to this - I love the way everything looks once I've
finished. There is such a strong sense of accomplishment and
pride. Don't you feel the same?
forecast looks delightful. Rain and more mild temperatures.
Watch out for some of those low morning temperatures. If you
have started planting or buying plants that could be harmed by
frost keep an eye on your e-mail
will keep you up to date with our timely frost warnings.
this week's videos. One on my bulb
experiment and the other on the cutting back of Liriope. Enjoy!
The Great Divide...
Dividing perennials is important for the garden and the
soul. The garden benefits because many perennials become
overcrowded and need to be thinned out once in a while. The
gardener's soul benefits because it provides an opportunity to
share our garden treasures with other gardeners who will go on to
expand their beauty.
divide the wrong plants! Before you start take a look at our
When to Divide Perennials in our Features section.
Keep 'Em Covered...
Gardeners anxious to get their yard and garden chores done in
spring may be tempted to remove the mulch from their strawberry
beds in March or early April. A portion of the strawberry crop
may be lost however if the mulch is
removed too early in the spring. Removal of the mulch plus
several days of warm weather may encourage the plants to bloom
before the danger of frost or freezing temperatures is past.
Temperatures of 32°F or lower may severely damage or destroy open
flowers. Since the first flowers produce the largest berries, a
late spring frost can drastically reduce yields.
the chances of frost or freeze damage leave the mulch on until
the plants show signs of growth. Periodically examine the plants
under the mulch during periods of warm weather in the spring.
Remove the mulch from the strawberry plants when about 25% of the
plants are showing new growth (it will be white or yellow in
color). Rake the mulch to the center aisles between rows. If
there is a threat of a frost later in the season during bloom,
the mulch can be lightly raked back over the plants.
Part of your spring clean-up may include some tree pruning.
Take your time and do it right. In particular don't leave stubs
behind when pruning. Stubs usually die and become entry points
for decay fungus. Instead cut just outside the branch collar,
the slightly thickened area at the base of the branch. As an
extra precaution remember that pruning should never be done in
damp or wet weather when the fungal spores and bacteria that
infect plants through fresh wounds spread easily.
Hummingbirds will be in our area from
mid-April through October. Invite these wonderful birds
into your garden with a hummingbird feeder and the plants they
So, your neighbor's cat has decided that
your garden is its designated litter box? Here are some tips
that might actually work to keep that feline from soiling your
- Try planting rue.
This attractive blue-green herb has a scent that most cats find
- Modify the
cat's behavior. Spray water at the cat when it comes into
the garden. If the cat associates an unpleasant shower
with your garden it will likely find another place to hang out.
- Plant a garden
just for the cat. By creating a small space that the cat
enjoys you may be able to keep it away from the rest of your
plantings. Try catnip, catmint, cat thyme, and valerian.
Stopping The Topping...
Has that tree in the front yard gotten a little too big?
If so you need to resist the urge to "top
it". Topping, also known as heading or stubbing, is a
damaging pruning practice that seriously damages the long-term
health of a tree. According to the
Arboretum many homeowners top their
trees because of a misconception that large trees are
hazardous and that storm debris will be reduced with a reduction
in size. In fact, topped trees produce
large quantities of water sprouts -
shoots that are weakly attached and are easily broken off during
storms - to replace the leaves and
branches that were lost, thereby increasing storm debris.
If you have a zoysia lawn it is still dormant and you should
not be applying any fertilizer to it. Any fertilizer
added now will just feed the weeds and they're overfed as it is.
Be patient. You should be able to fertilize your zoysia lawn in
about six weeks.
"March is a month of
considerable frustration - it is so near spring and yet across a
great deal of the country the weather is still so violent and
changeable that outdoor activity in our yards seems light-years