I swear the plants in the gardens have been whispering this to me over the past 2 weeks. So this weeks rain is certainly a welcome event! Completing spring garden services has not only revealed the ravages to plant material caused by this incredibly unstable winter/spring temperatures, but also the lack of adequate moisture to begin the growing process. Consider the lack of snowfall this winter and the relatively dry spring thus far, and it is a recipe for problems to begin your 2016 garden season.
As I assess the gardens I have found the extremes in temperatures have caused damage to some emerging perennial leaf out, damage and interruption to spring bulb leaves and blooms as well as evergreen leaf damage. Just look around our area and you will notice the dry and browned shrubs.
So what to do? As for the evergreen shrubbery browning…I just take my blower or hand to shake out the dried leaves…see what falls…then wait it out until the first growth flush. You will have to deal with ugly for a time. But in this case, patience is required. Decide what to prune out after that first flush. Many of the spring bulbs that were damaged…I have already cut them down..leaving enough green to nourish the bulb for next year. Frankly if there is no show this year due to the damage it is easier to install your mulch evenly.
Get your fertilizer and mulch down…then water it in. I do not routinely suggest regular watering this time of year, but the weather patterns dictate a different plan of action for 2016 start up. Digging in the dirt in gardens thus far has been like pushing around sawdust the top 4-6 inches. Well established gardens can wait a bit for regular watering after you water in your fertilizer. But if you have new plantings less than a year old, sand or poor site base, start a regular weekly watering routine to accommodate for our lack of precipitation. Installations less than one year old are still establishing themselves and will require the regular hydration along with your fertilization process.
Just a little common sense this spring start up, will help you sustain and grow your gardens this season.
Garden Goddess Sense and Sustainability kicks off her 2016 Summer Workshop Garden Series @ Dehns Flowers and Greenhouses in Saratoga Springs Saturday May 14th! She welcomes back Chef John Capelli of the Olde Bryan Inn for an 11:00am culinary workshop: Using Spinach and Fresh Veggies and follows that up with her 12:30 workshop: Creating a Kitchen Garden. Throughout the day enjoy light refreshments, new water garden displays, and Q and A with the “Water Garden Guy”:Chip DuBois. Stop in Dehn’s on Beekman St. for the full 2016 Garden Workshop Series. All workshops are free and attendees are eligible for a weekly garden lover’s give away and greenhouse specials!