It's Time to ...

Now is the time to trim roses , which can look dead just before buds start to swell. Inspect the whole plant before starting to trim back stems. Calbar Paul Photography
Now is the time to trim roses , which can look dead just before buds start to swell. Inspect the whole plant before starting to trim back stems. Calbar Paul Photography
Posted: May 10, 2014

Plant Easter gifts. If you're like my sister, who received Easter plants from her kids and grandkids, you may be wondering what to do now that blooms have faded. Whether flowering shrubs, bulbs, or lilies, figure out their basic growing requirements - sun or shade, moist or dry soil. What, no gardening books? You have a great many sources - the Internet, as well as Q&A services through the Greater Philadelphia Gardens member organizations: http://www.greaterphiladelphiagardens.org/gardens.asp - to help you pick the best spot to plant. Carefully loosen roots after removing the plant from its pot. You'll know you've dug a deep enough hole when the soil surface of the plant is even with the surrounding ground.

Trim lavender and roses carefully and slowly over the next few weeks. Timing is everything in a garden. Take lavender. Although your plant may have looked dead a month ago, it's likely showing signs of waking up, with leaf color turning from gray to blue-green. Check any bare, woody stems for new clusters of leaves. Roses, too, tend to look dead just before buds start to swell. Inspect the whole plant before starting to trim back the stems (called canes) to live buds. Always use a sharpened pair of pruners.

Try edible landscaping. Rather than growing vegetables and flowers in separate parts of the garden, I encourage you to create patches within your flower garden where you can plant edible crops. As long as you remember what you planted and where, you can rotate crops annually, moving them to a different patch to avoid perpetuating plant diseases. For more information about edible landscaping, look up Rosalind Creasy online. She's an authority on the subject who inspired me to try this way of gardening many years ago.


Patricia Schrieber is director of education for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) ( www.phsonline.org), and co-owner of Valentine Gardens ( www.valentine-gardens.com).

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