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Spring gardening ideas

The unusually warm spring weather we have had recently really gives avid gardeners spring fever.

We want to be out in the gardens tending to our favorite flowers, vegetables, trees, and shrubs. If you are looking for an excuse to get into the garden, here are some great spring gardening ideas for your perennial beds.

In the early spring, after most of the snow melts and temperatures are mostly above freezing, remove winter protection such as evergreen boughs, or other types of coverings and winter mulches. Do so early in the spring because plants will begin growing under these covers. Perennials need the sun, and to be exposed to cooler temperatures, to be fully hardy. Uncover too late, and they may be easily burned by the sun or injured by dips in the temperature. The mulches can stay on open parts of the perennial beds.

While you are out in the garden, look for plants heaved up by frost action. These should be pressed back down into the ground. Before too many plants start their spring growth, start your spring clean-up by removing dead, decaying plant matter. While it does provide organic matter to your beds, it can also harbor pests and diseases. So it's best to remove this dead growth from last year, if you didn't last fall. You can add fresh compost or mulch for additional organic matter.

Some perennials such as tickseed, shasta daisy, garden phlox, asters, and coneflowers have green rosettes at ground level that overwinter and need to be exposed. Most perennials (such as perennial geranium, daylily, bee balm, and others) can be cut back almost to the ground, and they will regrow from there.

Lasty, it is never too early to weed. Pulling up any weeds that have started to grow now, when the soil is moist, can really save you a lot of work later in the growing season!

Anne Lenox Barlow works at Campbell's Greenhouse in Saranac and has had experience in the agricultural field as a horticulture educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Clinton County. She can be reached by e-mail at a.lennox.barlow@gmail.com.

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