Flower Gardening Tips

There is still time to plant sweet peas and hardy spring blooming annuals like poppies, cornflowers, larkspur, agrostemma, godetia and California wildflower varieties that like to make growth before the weather gets too hot. Planting them in the fall means they’ll be up already with good sturdy roots, and just starting to show new fresh leaves as the days length increases, but sowing seeds now will have fine results for bloom in late April and early May.

Watch carefully for slugs and snails and hand pick them in evening or early morning. Birds can become a problem, usually at the time of the equinoxes, so using bird tape to keep them off is a good strategy. Use floating row cover, like Agrifabric or Reemay, to loosely cover the bed after sowing. Weight down the edges with stakes or stones and leave it on; the fabric will warm up the soil a bit, protect the plants from birds, flea beetles and other flying pests, and allow water to permeate right through it.

Get roses pruned as soon as possible, and start pruning of fruit trees before buds swell, although it is wonderful to leave a few branches on the tree to cut when buds are well formed to bring inside for elegant spring bloom. Sprays of plum and forsythia can be cut soon. Take advantage of sunny days to weed around perennials before the weeds take off, but be careful not to stand too close to the roots of the plants while you work.
The most important thing about this season’s gardening is to try and protect the texture of the soil by keeping it as covered as you can while you get some early food and flowers started.

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