It’s Landscapers’ Spring! Your Monthly Landscaping Guide From Winterbloom

It’s almost spring! Well, it’s what we call “landscapers’ spring.” February 15th is the official milestone that marks spring for us in the landscaping business. From this point on, odds are we won’t have any heavy snow or hard frosts.

This is a wonderful month for gardening!  We still have some rain of course, but it’s a warmer rain, right? The following list is a good guide to remind you what to do while you’re out there:

  • It is time to begin baiting for slugs, near things that you know they will love in the spring.
  • Weed! Now is the time when they are little, weak, and helpless things! Take one section of the yard per weekend and work all the way around the yard in a month.
  • It is even an excellent time to transplant if you need to move something.
  • Plant fruit trees and deciduous shrubs, bare root (less expensive) or container.
  • Plant perennials and perennial herbs outdoors, such as chives, lovage, mint, rosemary, sage, and thyme (Remember that mint and oregano are invasive, so plant accordingly).
  • Prune fruit trees as needed.
  • Prune and train grapes.
  • Prune your roses. This is also a great time to plant new roses. Bare-root roses are available; however, we believe that Heirloom Roses in St. Paul is the best place to purchase self-root roses.
  • Continue to prune and gather branches of quince, forsythia, and/or flowering cherries, so you can bring them inside to force early blooms.
  • Prune summer-flowering plants, such as butterfly bush, cotoneaster, clematis, and hydrangea. Do not prune spring flowering shrubs now such as azaleas! You will cut off the bloom buds.
  • Prune back Fuchsias and other perennials that have not been pruned back to about four inches. This year has been cold enough so you may wonder whether the Fuchsias have really died to the ground. So, unless you just can’t handle the bare sticks, wait till you see how far up the little green buds are coming out and trim them down to that mark. This Spring it will probably be from the ground and not from the stems at all.
  • Control moles with traps.
  • Spread mulch two inches thick. Do this every two years. Compost mulch is best, but bark mulch is fine. It is easiest to do in winter after things are trimmed and cleaned up.  It makes everything look great! It smothers weed seeds and of course helps to hold the moisture in the ground in the dry season and in the rainy season it prevents erosion.

For adventuresome gardeners:

  • Make cold frame or hotbed to start early vegetables or flowers.
  • Prepare soil for growing pots and flats of seedlings.
  • Plant seed flats for crops in the cole family, such as cabbage (as in cole slaw), broccoli, and Brussel sprouts for future planting outdoors
  • Apply first of four dormant sprays of copper/sulfur sprays mixed with dormant oil spray on apple trees to prevent apple scab and kill pest larvae.
  • Time for the exact same mix of dormant sprays for other fruit and deciduous trees and shrubs, especially for certain roses that normally are attacked by disease and insects.






Euphorbia rigida: All Season Color and Texture in Your Garden

If you’re looking for a plant that will give your garden color and texture all year long; require almost no maintenance, or any augmented watering after its first growing season, perhaps you should consider the Euphorbia rigida.

This shrub is an evergreen perennial in our northwest climate. It originated in what we used to call Yugoslavia (now the 7 independent nations of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia).

Here’s more of what you should know about this plant:

  • It will brighten the late winter months with chartreuse blooms that will last for well over a month.
  • It must be watered the first summer, but it is drought tolerant after that.
  • Its foliage shows gray-blue color in the summer sun and a green-gray color in the winter.
  • It is well mannered: This means it is not prone to seeding around like some of its cousins.
  • Individual plants are about two feet tall and one and a half inch wide in general.
  • Maintenance is simple. After the blooms have been spent, cut that stem all the way down to the ground. The shoots that didn’t bloom this time around will next year.

Euphorbia rigida looks great next to rocks and likes well-drained soil It doesn’t like to get its feet wet, so avoid planting it where it will end up sitting in irrigation water in the summer, or in a place where water pools in the winter rains.