Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pruning and Planting Summer Bulbs In Early Spring

It's time to prune as spring begins its rampant growth in the garden here on the north coast. I started off my first hour in the garden by planting some summer bulbs and plants. I had a box of freesia in purples and pinks I added to the flower bed behind the cherry tree in the front yard. I have heaths and heathers planted there as well as a few fuchsias, a blue penstemon and a Johnson's Blue geranium. The purple and pink freesias should look good with the color combination in the flower bed. Besides the freesias I had a box of four giant columbine in mixed colors to add to the front yard garden. I planted some smaller columbines in the back yard two years ago and they didn't do too well, its possible the area was too shady planted under the pink jasmine vines lining the back deck. There is plenty of sun in the front yard in this flower bed, I'm hoping the columbines self-seed well as they are supposed to do in this location. I found a great sale on impatient seed, never grown them before from seed so this will be an experiment in the garden. I took a little time to sow some impatient seed surrounding the shady areas of the camellia, azaleas and ferns near the back gate, a perfect spot to brighten up with impatient flowers.

The next hour was spent starting my pruning duties. I started off pruning by working on the kiwi vines in the back yard. Normally I cut the long arms back in winter but the rains came early and haven't let up most of winter. I spent time cutting the tall arms off the vine with my pole trimmer and cutting them up in smaller pieces for the garden waste can. Some of the kiwi vine arms can grow five feet or more in a season and last year was no exception. The kiwi fruit did not ripen correctly again this year, so much of my time pruning was spent avoiding dropping old kiwi fruit, another job my husband and myself will get to in the coming weeks. The vines look cleaned up for the moment, a few of the higher branches will have to be left to my husband to cut down.

The butterfly bushes are already starting to show a growth spurt, another spring job that my husband takes care of. One of the butterfly bushes is a good 12 feet tall with the new growth. When pruned back to 4 feet the bushes put on another 4 to 5 feet of growth or more by the summer season. I can see its time to prune the passionflower vine on the fence, the curly willow and the hedge in the front yard. Since its still raining quite a bit here on and off they will have to wait a bit since mowing the lawns are the next big garden priority. I will try to fit in trimming the hedges along with the mowing next weekend if its not raining.

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