It has been a brutal winter in Portland. From early December until now, the latter portion of February, it seems that every ten days we’ve been in for some concoction of winter weather.
For the garden, the winter weather may have left you with extra chores to go with the normal spring cleanup routine. It might also mean later bloom time for your perennials and shrubs that flower in the winter months and early spring.
But as far as I’m concerned it is time for winter to get movin' and get spring SPRUNG! It’s time to get back in the garden. Weather be damned, it’s time for bloomin’!
Back in the garden means a few things.
Pruning: Many times there is pruning to be done, winter, spring and often times fall are ideal times to do this.
General cleanup: With General cleanup, it can include raking and picking up of leaves, sticks, also branches brought down by snow and ice. I think it’s always a good idea to rake over the mulch in the planting beds to give it a revitalized look.
Cut back perennials and ornamental grass: If cutting back your perennials and ornamental grasses wasn’t done in the fall or throughout the winter it should be done in the spring. Doing this will make your perennials and ornamental grass look clean and give them a fresh start. Providing them an opportunity to realize their true potential and fill your yard with color, texture and motion.
Touch up the lawn: Spring is a good time to give the lawn some care. If your lawn is already in good shape, then simply giving it a thorough raking, over-seeding and putting down an organic fertilizer may be just what you need to do. To reduce compaction in the soil, you could add aeration to your list as well. If your lawn is unusually bumping the wet (not soggy) ground provides a window of opportunity to roll the turf and even things out.
Couple of turf tips – First, for growing grass from seed, typically the soil temperature should be above 50 degrees. For this to happen it means we’ve consistently had temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees. Second tip, Milorgonite is a great slow release organic nitrogen based fertilizer. It is easy to use. It’s used on golf courses across the country. It’s good s*%t… literally. Typically an application around late March or April, June and September is sufficient.
Mulch: Spring is an ideal time to mulch planting beds. There are numerous types of mulch and they can range from tree bark to stone and even recycled tires. For perennial and shrubs beds I most commonly use Dark Hemlock. It is durable, has a very nice dark chocolate color, and doesn’t give you slivers. Aside from almost magically making the yard look better after it is applied mulch has an number of other functions and they include: Help hold water in the soil by slowing evaporation, insulate the soil by keeping it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Reduces weeds by shading seeds preventing germination. As it breaks down it adds nutrients to the soil. A solid base of 2-3” of dark hemlock mulch is typically sufficient.
Design: Although it is not the only time to think about design, spring is a great time to consider or reconsider your outdoor space. What I like about spring design is that it is an ideal time to observe the landscape with fresh eyes.
When thinking about landscape or garden design I come from a perspective of maximizing your outdoor space to extend your living space. Outdoor rooms create places to relax, play and entertain. Utilizing trees, shrubs, perennials and ornamental grasses will ensure seasonal interest throughout the growing season.
Gardens and landscapes in good order provide a place for downtime. They are a gift to your neighborhood and they welcome your guests. The gardens and landscape are a key component to making your house your home. Spring is a great time to prepare your gardens and landscape for the warmer months ahead.
Contact Wheel & Barrow Landscape Design & Maintenance for your landscape and garden needs.