Spring Gardening Tips from the Pros
We’re excited to publish this special blog post from our friends at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond. They share some great tips to kick off your gardening this Spring, and we hope you enjoy! Don’t forget that if your home is located in a planned community, it’s important to check your Homeowners’ Association documents before beginning any landscape or gardening projects to ensure they comply with community guidelines.
For something so eagerly anticipated, Spring often takes 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 do 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 are how much sun does the area receive and how does the area drain? 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 yard instead of large areas of lawn, such as less mowing, fewer chemicals, and decreased watering needs. Living mulch such as planted groundcover helps 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 and wet or dry. Consider native plants for your garden as they have evolved to live in the region and tend to thrive. They’re also uniquely designed for native pollinators such as bees and butterflies! Opt for food scaping rather than landscaping, as this approach creatively integrates edibles among ornamentals in a traditional landscape — pairing vegetables, fruits and herbs with shrubs, grasses and trees.
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 example, you might want 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, visit Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Henrico and take advantage of the great local resources and classes and enjoy the beautiful views. We believe it’s how you live that matters and hope you find these tips helpful. Happy Spring and happy gardening!