Hello Fellow Readers,
It’s the official the start of spring and I don’t feel ready. The ending of this winter, more than most, came much too fast. Partly because I didn’t have my fill of cross-country skiing; not to complain because the times we did have were glorious. It’s more because I didn’t finish the book proposal that I was driven to complete during the design lull of winter. Work in progress!
Every season has its glory, and surely Spring and the promise of new beginnings is to be celebrated. With the transition from winter to spring comes mud season, though we’ve had many mud seasons this winter. Freeze, thaw, rain. Freeze, thaw, more rain. Snow then ice to rain. It’s been ugly. At a paver showcase last week there was a slide of a boisterous fellow screaming “For the sake of God, No More Rain!” Better to laugh than cry… I’m sure we all hope this growing season won’t be a rerun of last year.
An aside happy note – Also at the paver event, a landscaper named Phil came up to me and asked, “Are you the gal that writes the column?” He went on to share how he lives in Bergen County NJ but always looks for The Press when he’s in the area. “I like the column because it’s about gardening and life. Like the Zen of our industry.” Phil’s kudos brought a lift to my spirit as does your ongoing support. Thank you, my faithful readers.
As we return to tending to our gardens and yards, be sure not to run heavy equipment or to trample too closely to roots when the soil is too wet. Soil compression will inhibit the much-needed oxygen flow to roots. Especially be careful while cutting back perennials left standing for winter interest and to encourage self-seeding.
It’s a good time to add a layer of leaf mold or compost on your gardens, both high in nutrients. For those that prefer, you can top-dress the layer of compost with a thin layer of hardwood mulch, I prefer hemlock. Stay clear of dyed mulch, not good for plants, and no mulch volcanoes, please. And, mulch should be kept a few inches away from where the trunk or stem meets the soil to prevent insects and disease.
It’s also a good time to fertilize gardens and lawns. I always advise organic fertilizers, far better for you, your pets, and our environment. They are readily available thanks to the trend in healthy living and being kind to our dear earth.
One of the glories of spring that makes the goodbye of Mr. Frosty less sad to me is the emergence of the nodding little white heads of snowdrops (Galanthus) sitting above grass-like foliage that miraculously shows up along the sides of our country roads. Welcome to new beginnings! Garden Dilemmas? AskMaryStone@gmail.com
Links to previous columns on mulching tips: