Gardening Tips for Spring

Is it possible the winter really ended? For those of you out there who are still disoriented by the snow and the cold, here is some advice from Cellen Wolk of Hey Hoe Garden Design to help point you back toward the sun. The tips are offered in rough order.

• Divide and transplant perennials.

• Cut off last years’s growth on liriope, hellebores, epimedium, etc. This is easiest before new growth begins. Check for hellebore seedlings and transplant them.

• Cut back roses and remove the oldest canes. Tie climbing roses so the stems are as horizontal as possible for more flowers.

• Clip hedges.

• Fertilize bulbs as they come up; fertilize again and deadhead after they bloom.

• Fertilize shrubs with a gentle, slow-release product, like Gardentone, Planttone, or Melorganite. Prune spring blooming shrubs just after they bloom. This is your chance to get Clematis Montana under control. Cut back and shape tender summer/fall blooming shrubs like caryopteris.

• Start to pinch back asters, mums and even platycodon and sedum.

• Check boxwood for leaf minor. They appear as tiny orange worms when the upper and underside of the leaf are pulled apart. Treat with Merit.

• This is a good time to spread a thin layer of compost on the garden, but avoid mulching until the ground has completely warmed up.

• If you had trouble with tomato wilt last year, buy a resistant variety and plant them in a different place. In fact plant all your vegetables in a different place!

• And last but hardly least, take photos of the garden and show to all your friends!

There are a number of excellent independent nurseries in the area: Cleatus Farms Nursery in Northvale; Red Hill Nursery in New City; Down to Earth Nursery in Pomona; and Bel Fiore Greenhouses in Woodcliff Lake.

For native and rare species, Bumps & Co. in West Nyack is excellent. The Native Plant Center is a great resource for the right native plants for your garden, the best perennials for shade, sun, birds, and so on, and important information on invasive plants.

For inspiration and a fun excursion, check out The New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx or Wave Hill in Riverdale, or a walk on the Highline in New York City, but preferably not on a sunny weekend.