Guest blog post by Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
We’re excited to publish this special blog post from our friends at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond. They share some great gardening tips to kick off your garden this Spring and we hope you enjoy them! Don’t forget that if your home is located in a planned community, it’s important to check with your Homeowners’ Association documents before beginning any landscape or gardening projects to ensure those plans comply with community guidelines.
For something so eagerly anticipated, Spring often take us by surprise when it comes to gardening. Maybe it’s because once the weather breaks, everything seems to happen all at once. Whether you’re a novice gardener or a seasoned pro, here are some tips to get your garden ready for the season:
Clean Up Clutter: This may not sound appealing, but there’s prep work to be done before you buy lovely plants at the garden center. Make time to get outside in your yard or garden to clean up fallen limbs, rake leaves, and so some general tidying up. It’s also important to organize your tools. Then, devise a plan of what, where, and when you plan to plant. Important things to consider is how much sun does an area receive and does it drain well. Don’t plant tender annuals too soon – the last frost date in Richmond is mid-April.
Look at the Lawn: The grass may seem to be struggling after a long winter, but don’t immediately turn to fertilizers and chemicals. Take the time to find out what your lawn really needs through an inexpensive soil test from the Extension Service, a certified lab, or local garden centers. There are benefits to having a variety of plants in your yards instead of large lawn areas of lawn such as less mowing, fewer chemicals, decreased watering needs. Living mulch such as planted groundcover help mitigate surface run-off and the growth of weeds.
Pick Your Plants: In gardening, the mantra is “right plant, right place.” You’ll need to do your research and match your plants with the right growing conditions such as sun or shade or wet or dry. Consider native plants for your garden as they have evolved to live in our region and tend to thrive. They’re also uniquely designed for native pollinators such as bees and butterflies! Opt for foodscaping rather than landscaping. This approach creatively integrates edibles among ornamentals in a traditional landscape — pairing vegetables, fruits and herbs with shrubs, grasses and trees.
Tree-care: If you’re planting trees or shrubs, make sure your selection won’t grow too large to fit your space. There are many wonderful native trees and shrubs to consider and you may want to choose something that has more than one season of interest, for instance: flowers in the spring, fruit in summer and leaf color in the fall. When shopping for a tree or shrub, make sure that all leaves are healthy, branches are alive, and the root-ball doesn’t extend above the soil.
For additional inspiration, take advantage of great local resources and classes, and enjoy beautiful views, visit Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Henrico. Happy Spring and happy gardening!