A gardening friend asked if you could get drunk on the sun? It sure feels like it the last couple of days, when the temperatures soared to over 70 degrees. What a fine excuse for a gardening marathon, the first hard-core stint of the year.
Here's my springtime sequence of tasks, which I try to do in order, but always get pulled off track , usually by a transplanting chore. With interruptions for nursery runs or writing down ideas and plans, here's the drill:
First I clean up, cut back, and do the early pruning, like roses, clematis, hydrangeas and evergreen ferns. I cut back woody heucheras to just a little stub, tidy up leaves, evergreen grasses, and this year, unfortunately, dug up a number of corpses of dead plants, like lorapetalum and hebes, lost in the big December freeze.
Next I work on the soil, adding more to raised beds with "shrinkage" over the winter, piling compost on all the beds, and scratching in a balanced, organic fertilizer around heavy feeders like hosta, clematis, hydrangeas, roses, sweet peas. Water thoroughly.
I check all the drip hoses in the raised beds, and replace or re-route soaker hoses if need be. This must be my least favorite chore of the year...
Now is the time to transplant anything that needs more space or a different situation. It's also time to divide overgrown or congested perennials, like crocosmia. I dug up all my strawberries this year, dividing up the mother plant, re-planting the more mature babies.
Plant! Seeds, starts, fresh baby perennials - over the last couple of days I've planted a trio of Helenium 'Mardi Gras' (above) a few 'Carmen' oriental poppies (below), rows of lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower. Artichokes, sedum, swathes of coppery little carexes..and I haven't gotten to containers, yet, or trimming out any of the beds, annuals or any warm-weather vegetables, but I'm trying to remember to leave space for sunflowers, nasturtiums, pumpkins, carrots, and beans....let alone dahlias!
Water, and add a top dressing of rich, dark well-composted manure mulch so the plants are well fed and the beds look tidy and fresh.....