As life should have it, mistakes can be made when composing on the computer. Please note that in rereading last month's article, I saw a typo that I thought I had corrected prior to sending. The ground cover featured and also referred to in the article should be Vinca Major and not Vinca Minor. Mea culpa.
The weather has been so volatile, warm some days followed by freezes. Hopefully, by the time of the release of this article, spring will have arrived in all of its glory. Cheers for the gorgeous shrubs displaying an abundance of color. Just in my yard, I have several bright yellow forsythia flanked behind with 15 foot purple leafed loropetalum bushes filled with pink flowers and a few dogwoods just starting to open their delicate white blooms. Incidentally, if you desire a screen or just a few colorful shrubs, nothing beats the workhorse, loropetalum. Blooming twice a year, this shrub has no pests which I have been able to detect, does not need pruning as has a loose and airy shape, and the flowers and leaves look spectacular in flower arrangements. Also, they are readily available at nurseries and garden centers. What a care free beauty you can enjoy for years to come. They can get up to 20 feet, and can be pruned back in the early fall if desired.
What to do this month in the garden is always a question I get around the first of the season. I either make a plan for spring and summer bed or refer to the plan I made last fall. Since the winter was harsh, I noticed that some of my snaps and a few of the pansies took a hit. I purchased large pots of mature snaps and pansies at a garden center and plugged in the holes.
Pansies, violas and other cool weather annuals will begin to die back in late May due to the heat index, so
replanting with the same plants will give a full bed until then. I did not get many poppies this year because someone who thought they were helping applied pine straw to many of the seeded areas. But with a few plants, I gathered them together in one area, and replanted. Poppies can be transplanted while still young. Be sure to dig up a nice root ball of dirt, replant, water, and they will not know the difference.
Of course it goes without saying that weeding the tender spring weeds is a must. These are not difficult to extract, and should be repeated weekly until none are left. Heavens forbid, no one wants these weeds to get mature enough to reseed.
Gardeners are such optimists since we are constantly planning for the next season in the flower beds. My focus now is to seed some easy to grow flowers for the late spring and summer. Zinnias are a great example for this task. I like Pacific giants seed which comes in a mix or specific colors. If you have not saved the seed from last year's crop, I suggest you buy the seed from a center which sells seed rather than the individual prepackaged seed packs. They take about one month to bloom and the plants will bloom at least 6 weeks or more if watered and fertilized. Cosmos is another good flower to start from seed this month. Just mark off the area so you do not make the same mistake I made with my poppies. Do not mulch over the seed since they will not germinate well.
PLANT OF THE MONTH--ALLAMANDA
Actually a tropical vine or shrub which grows to about 3 feet, and will thrive in sun or shade. Of course it will produce more bloom heads in the full sun. A.hendersonii is the variety that is easy to find and also easy to grow. As an accent plant, they do very well in pots and one can mix them with trailing purple or pink verbena for a stunning effect. Bloom time is summer until fall.