Spring Clean Up and Time to Start New Plants

sweetannie4u(midOK_z6b/7a)March 12, 2013

I edged one of my big flowerbeds - ugh!
Raked up all that mess and put it into the burn pile.
Took cuttings from my Heritage Rose and potted them up to root. Took cuttings from my ever-blooming Azalea and potted them and set glass jars over each one so they will root (I hope).

Going back out to finish cutting back all the deadwood on the Species rose growing on the back of the carport. Most of it died last year due to the drought. It was so beautiful. Covered the entire back side of the carport. In Spring, it is covered in tiny white blooms that have a scent of peppery-rose. But it is a resilient rose and is making a come back.

I cut half of it back this past weekend and the pile is 6 feet wide and 10 feet tall. Going to haul it to the burn pile first and then start on the other half. It kills my lower back, but them's the breaks!

Spring clean up is quite a task.

Moved one of the Betty Prior roses to a hopefully better location. Set out a new rose by the new arbor in the back yard - a Climbing Iceberg rose I bought a while back. It is looking really good. Lots of new growth.

This year, I'm going to take a few cutting off the Gruss en Aachen rose to send to my friend, Kathy, in Texas. She lost her rose. I grew it from a cutting from her bush, so now going to send her some cuttings from my bush. We could call them - her grand baby roses.

Starting more rose cuttings from the Ballerina rose, and Portmeirion, too. I took cuttings from Simply Marvelous, Mister Lincoln and Mirandy back in February and they are looking good. Want more of all those throughout the garden.

I sprouted my tomato, broccoli and red bell pepper seeds last week and then potted them up this past weekend. I used little plastic containers that dog food came in for the nursery pots. They are all sitting on cookie sheets on top of the stove in the kitchen. Not sure where I will move them to. They take up so much room! Guess I better go make room out in my make-shift greenhouse for them. Can't cook with them on the stove.

I've been watering my new fruit trees despite all the rain we have been getting. We are out of the "short-term drought", but still a way to go before the long-tern drought is over. Hope this rainy weather continues.

The Apricot tree is loaded with bloom buds,.I hope they don't open up too early. or the typical spring frosts we get will ruin them. Haven't checked the apples or peaches today, but the trees are doing very well.

That's part of what I have been doing for spring readiness.

What are you doing?


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I got the seedlings moved out to the greenhouse.

I hope the cats stay out of them. They go in there seeking mice. In a frantic chase after the mice, sometimes they disregard the rules about getting into Mom's plants. Ahem! :)

Naughty cats...

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 6:08PM
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Tomorrow is supposed to be warm, will get grocery shopping done early, then on to Lowes, where I plan to pick up potting soil, tomato plants, and whatever else I happen to see that I can't live without (and probably don't need!), then on to the yard! Just general cleanup, get the birdbaths cleaned and ,start weeding, as well as hopefully get quite a few rose cuttings for you, Annie. Later in the week it will be even warmer, I love watching my garden come alive when this happens! We're lucky to live in the South, aren't we? (Except for July, August and September, lol)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 12:39AM
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thinman(Z5 MI)

Does blowing snow count as spring cleanup? Not until the 20th, I suppose.

Can't see my gardens yet, but I do have some seeds started. I won't be selling flowers at the farmers' market this year, so I'm growing only for me.

I'm going to make a new garden bed next to my driveway, and will be moving some baptisia, day lilies, echinacea, veronica, heliopsis, lambs' ears, yarrow, daisies, and liatris into it, along with a big rock or two and a Japanese maple that I have been nursing from a seedling.

For seeds, I have foxgloves started, and later will start cleome, cosmos, snaps, bee balm, annual dahlias, and zinnias. I'll probably have more plants than I can use, but who cares? They're all from left over seeds so they're free, right?


    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 1:07PM
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I actually don't think I could survive living where winters are long. I am a sunshine girl - Helios is a must! Even here when we have fairly short dreary spells of gray overcast and cold days, I get cabin fever and depressed. (Wonder if that comes from where I spent my childhood years or something from my Portuguese blood that I adore sunshine and thrive in the heat?)

For me, spring is my peak season for anything pretty in the garden. By the end of June it begins to wane as the Southern summer begins to heat up and the rains lessen or stop completely. I planted lots of trees and tall growing shrubs and now that they are big enough to produce shade, my garden blooming time has extended somewhat. Unless it is a native type Prairie flower, it is best to plant things where they get afternoon shade. I ignore the labels that say "FULL SUN".

In any case, I feel for you that live in those colder zones. Of course, you get more precip and the cooler, wetter climates tend to produce the prettiest flowers. (sigh).

The trade off is that we grow the best tomatoes and okra, which I for one am happy for.

You are both as busy as am I. Thank you for being my friends and for adding your input to this topic. It is so interesting to hear what others are doing right now in their neck of the woods...and so inspiring!

Now I want to run into Lowe's. I need some bags of "Black Kow", that wonderful composted Texas cow manure that is like black gold for my garden. Like you, I know that if I go there, I will invariably see something I want besides. Oh, my empty pockets!
thinman I wish I had a safe place to start flower seeds. Your selections sound dreamy. I just have to sow them in the garden here and hope for the best. Durn chickens and cats!
What is the variety of the sunflowers that you have been growing? The short ones with big happy sunflower faces? I LOVE sunflowers and want to grow that variety. I have purchased a variety of seed packets and every one grew tall, multi-branched and lanky, like wild sunflowers with smallish flowers, except for the Teddy Bear and Mammoth of course.
Thank you for the cuttings dear ogrose. You are a peach!
I will give it my best to root them and treasure them always. The tag will have your name on it. I always add the names of those who share or trade, ie. "Yvonne's Red Salvia"., and "June's Oregon Grape". :)

Thanks You two.
I hope others will add their comments to my ramblings as well.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 2:09PM
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Annie, right now the sun is shining so strongly here in my northern climate that if I were outdoors I would have to wear sunglasses! Even tho we have snow on the ground it's very often sunny here. I'm still enjoying my winter break altho it's coming to an end soon. A month from now I'll be out and at it.

Our spring starts in April and when your garden is fading at the end of June mine is becoming it's best. Our seasons are (approximately) Spring from April to mid-June, Summer until August, Fall to mid-November, and Winter from then until March. I like having a winter break from gardening - I'd really dislike if I had to garden year-round with no break at all. My plants are still happily hibernating while the soil is absorbing all the wonderful moisture from the snow so I won't have to water non-stop. Also I don't have to amend or fertilize as much as I would if my plants were growing year-round. I seldom need to worry about insects feasting on my plants because there are so few that survive the cold.

I buy excellent farm grown tomatoes from a market garden about a hundred miles south of here. They sell them off their truck in town. I could grow short season tomatoes but had to fight the squirrels for them so no longer bother.

I'm always glad to hear people are "blooming where they are planted" but please don't feel sorry for those of us who live in the north. We actually feel sorry for people who have to survive further south with hurricanes, tornadoes, intense heat, drought, and noxious insects. And because there are fewer people living this far north the air quality is excellent and our lakes are unpolluted. Best place on earth to live IMO! :)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 5:41PM
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Thanks for your post.

I know a little about the greatness of life in the North. I have lots of cousins who live in BC Canada. They are always trying to get me to move there. I know how beautiful the flowers and trees grow there. Gorgeous! I love the way it looks, even in winter. Snow is so beautiful. When it snows here, I trudge out and take GOBS of pictures.

I see the photos of the gardens of you Northerners and the scenic forest backdrops make me want to live there. But I truly can't deal with the cold. It is 59 degrees F here today and I AM FREEZING! Have chill bumps all over my arms. I dry out like an old lizard. Maybe I am reptilian - I love sitting on a hot rock in the hot sunshine. LOL

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 6:13PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

I need the ground to dry out a little before I get out there-I would totally compact our clay if I went out now. That does not mean I am not itching to start cleaning up out there! I ordered 20 bags of shredded hardwood mulch from one of my instructional assistants whose sons are selling it for their Boy Scout troop. It is not what I usually buy, so I may use it to replenish a path. We'll see.

At this point, I am looking at catalogues and getting ready to check out local nurseries. I need to replant one area that I fenced off to keep the dogs from digging up everything I plant in their quest for total chipmunk destruction. Not sure if they ever catch one, but they certainly have done a job on all the Sweet Woodruff, ferns, hostas, azaleas, hydrangea, etc. *sigh*.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that spring break the last week of the month will bring perfect gardening weather and that I have at least a little energy left-it has been quite the year at school...ugh.

Can't wait to see everyone's pictures when things get going. In progress pics are good, too, TM!


    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 6:36PM
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Weeding and mulching. Then more weeding and mulching. Now weeding the iris beds which are going to shrink since the stinkers won't abide mulch and I'm getting too ancient to weed so many times.

And I have gone to Annie's Annuals and made a nice wish list, and I am planting some annual seeds. Heve to get everything done before the 3-day-spring is over followed by summer then the inferno.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 7:10PM
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thinman(Z5 MI)

Annie, I've grown mainly two varieties of sunflowers: ProCut Orange (about 60 days), and Sunrich Orange (about 70 days). Their height is five to six feet. They are bred for the cut flower market, as they are pollen-free hybrids with nice long stems. Their downside is that they are single stemmed plants, so you get one flower per plant and that's it. Might as well cut them down after that.

It sounds like your sunflowers may have been a little under-nourished and maybe not getting quite enough sun. I've seen tall skinny sunflowers with small blooms under those conditions. Just a possibility.

Now that I'm just going to be growing for myself, I think I'll plant a branching variety like Soraya to stretch out the bloom period, but they are pretty tall. There's another branching variety called Sonja that's supposed to be under 4 feet tall but it takes 3 months plus to bloom.

I don't know if any of these varieties can be found in the store seed racks. I've had to order all of mine, some from Johnny's Selected Seeds.

Sunflowers forever!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 8:15PM
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THANKS thinman!!!

Those are EXACTLY the kind of Sunflowers I want!
I will check with my nurseryman near here. I bet he has the seeds, and if not, he will order them for me. I do not use credit cards, so that puts a damper on my ordering anything online. But on the other hand, I can live within my humble means, free and clear.

The sunflowers I have been growing have very sturdy stalks and make beautiful flowers, but I want bigger flowerheads and shorter stalks. I will still grow some of the taller varieties as the wild birds enjoy their seeds and they do make colourful flowers, but grow 10 feet tall here. This is sunflower country. They grow wild everywhere Lots of native varieties, but as much as I LOVE sunflowers, I am so very allergic to them - flowers, leaves and stalks. ITCHY! Sneeze my head off when they are blooming.

One very good thing about growing sunflowers is that they seem to enrich the soil where they grow. Maybe that is partly due to the grasshoppers who love them and the birds they attract, but their roots break up the soil and seem to really improve the tilth.

I was going to show you a picture of my sunflowers from last year, but cannot find those images.

But, I did find this picture of one of my Tasha Tudor Hollyhocks.
I have dozens of old-fashioned hollyhocks growing everywhere in my garden this Spring...(even in the paths, unfortunately). Those will have to be transplanted of course. But there are dozens! Have no idea what colours there will be. Every year it is a complete surprise. I cannot wait for all the FLOWERS...and my first big juicy TOMATO!

Kay...your "3-day Spring" is priceless. Ha Ha Ha!
Love it!!!
I don't understand why your irises don't like mulch. Of course, I mulch with leaves, instead of wood chips. I pile on leaves and more leaves and mine grow well and bloom like crazy. The leaves protect the rhizomes from sun scorch. My soil is sandy though. Maybe that's the difference. Dunno.

Thanks for contributing to this topic everyone.
Keep 'em coming!

This post was edited by sweetannie4u on Thu, Mar 14, 13 at 10:03

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 7:33AM
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rigelcaj(z5 VT)

Another northerner chiming in. You're only cold because you don't have the right clothes on! :) I admit, though, that I'm terribly jealous of the roses you can grow where it's warmer.

No edging going on here: we have an inch of mud on frozen ground. (Actually, even that froze last night). I did rake the last of the leaves off the beds and away from the base of the picket fence - or at least the ones that weren't frozen to the ground - so the daffodils and muscari would have smooth sailing. They're just poking up, so now's the time to rake no matter what the pros say about staying out of the garden when it's soft. I also committed a mortal sin, I'm sure, by taking the piles of manure off the roses, because I remembered planting bulbs at their bases. Duh. That's what happens when you have a giant pile of bulbs left in November. Hopefully the roses won't object, but they're experimental, so we'll see.

I also replaced the chunks of Irish Spring hanging from the dogwoods and apple trees (take that, deer!). Other than that, my outside activities have been limited to stalking my bulbs, checking the buds on the lilacs, and adding more manure to the raised strawberry bed formerly known as the sandbox, in prep for moving the strawberries.

I'm terrible with seeds and am happy I resisted this year. I do have pansies sprouting though, because even I can grow them, and you can never have enough. I even sprinkled seed in a big pot of wax hoya, because a volunteer came up and was so cute. I have cuttings rooting, though, from lilacs and last year's fuschia, and the begonias starting up again. The geraniums are trimmed, watered, and back to blooming too. I also have some forsythia and pussy willows in the house, and will probably stick them in the dirt, somewhere, when they root.

Hmm, seems a little out of control, now that I put it all together.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 8:44AM
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koszta_kid(Iowazone 5)

After 8 inches of snow.then 40 degree temps.And 2 days later 2 inches of rain. We had flash flooding all over.Now colder then normal temps. Ice dams in Cedar Rapids. But wiping muddy dogs feet.And praying some of this helps trees and plants from drought.But I would love to put gardening duds on and get dirty.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 9:28AM
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Snowing here today and windy and what did they say again? ah yes....Patience is a virtue.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 8:49AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

Still in the mad throw of that never ending cleanup thanks to me and my never ending hoarding of....can't throw that out I might just need that someday.
Looking at the hundreds of assorted sizes of pots stacked in different parts of the garden gave me an idea....off to CostCo and bought a quite nice looking storage box. So far I've washed about 3 dozen scotch pots (black half gallon) my favorites, they are now stored in their new home out of sight. Now onto the gallon pots, think I'll keep about 2 dozen, 1 dozen 2 g's and an assortment of larger sized pots and tubs, whatever will fit in the new storage box. The rest....off to recycle. Then I'll wade through the smaller 2", 4", and 6"ers, keep some the rest you guessed it off to recycle.

Wandering around the garden yesterday I saw the garlic and shallots I planted last fall are up, the few primroses I have are blooming along with hellebores and dwarf daffodils. The crocus and snowdrops are on their last legs along with the flowers on the winter jasmine, just about time to take the electric hedge trimmer and give the winter jasmine a brush cut.

Up in the garden/pool room the buds on my daphne odora marginata are starting to pop the fragrance wafting through the air along with the scent of the little sarcococca at the base of the steps going up to the lath house.

I germinated some cherokee purple tomato seeds, time to pot them up and start some more tomatoes. Next month I'll be time for the beans, I just love this time of year everything is coming alive, makes one feel good.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2013 at 11:05AM
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koszta_kid(Iowazone 5)

Getting another dusting of snow. But making drawing of how i want flower beds.I also bought new sun flowers seeds from Johnny seed.Some are dwarf ones To put in cutting arrange ments . To take to church.They are red ones.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 9:10AM
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Yesterday I made a long list of "spring to do", now I just need the weather to cooperate and some time to start cleanup. Lots of beds to rake out, dead stems and leaves to remove, re-mulching, pruning of roses and shrubs. I also want to move some hostas to different beds this year, and I have a bed that failed as a veggie garden least year that will now be converted to more glorious perennials. I could split a bunch of ones I already have to fill this space, but I always am looking for new colors and varieties that catch my eye. C'mon spring !!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 11:37AM
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mrsgalihad(5 CO)

Raking and pruning and more raking and more pruning. I need to get this place tidied up for showings. It goes back on the market April 8th. I really hope it gets rented quickly so we don't have to go through lots of showings.

I want so badly to do spring planting that I'm all ready trying to plan the gardens at the new place with the pictures I have. Never mind that we need to paint and stain outside before much else gets done.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 12:27PM
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Temps here last week were in the 80s, so everything started really popping up and blooms pooping open.

Very nice today too. Worked in the garden this morning wearing shorts and a tank top and my favorite flip-flops. So nice.

I let My Girls out for an hour this morning to scratch around and eat bugs and grass. They have begun to lay eggs again and need the new grass to stimulate their egg production. They followed me around, clucking happily and singing their little sighing songs. So cute!

The Jane Magnolia tree's flower buds have suddenly begun to swell and there are three flowers beginning to open. I sniffed one and oh, that sweet, one-of-a-kind fragrance!

The honeybees and Hummingbird moths are out in droves today supping nectar from the purple Henbit flowers in the grass and visiting all the flowering shrubs. I've even seen butterflies for the past two weeks. Tulips preparing to bloom and hundreds of yellow jonquils, daffodils and purple Muscari Grape Hyacinths are blooming. Hostas and Peonies are poking their noses up through the soft earth and looking good. I could go on and on...

The weather radio report yesterday predicts there will be lows in the mid-thirties in the next few days, dropping down into the low-20s on Friday night. Ain't that just DUCKY!

If that happens, even if it is just for one night or one hour, I will surely bid a fond but sad farewell to most, if not all, of this year's spring flowers. .I can just kiss the Apricots goodbye...again...for a second year.
It will spoil all the new tender growth on the roses and send all the little seedlings popping up in the garden to coldest Purgatory,

Glad I didn't set out the Cole crops and onion sets.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 6:26PM
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Yep, Annie, I'm waiting to plant seeds and moving perrenials just for that reason, it may or may not freeze in our area late this week. I just received seeds for ornamental peppers Black Pearl and Pepper Marble, Cilantro and Basil to put in pots on the patio. I love the Black Pearl, late in the Fall they look like Christmas lights on the plants!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 1:11AM
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I'm making great progress in the weeding. The weather is odd (aggravating) still bouncing from very warm to cool. the rains have continued, a blessing since we had a few years of awful drought.

I hope to finish weeding the 2nd iris bed and to spray all roses and daylilies with seaweed nutrition. Have to get the Black cow around to the roses too.

We are supposed to have rain this weekend and end the month of March with a pretty hard freeze. May freeze Wednesday night, but only overnight.

Got to get out and get busy. cheers to all

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 12:31PM
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Annie...would love to see pictures of your 'girls'!


    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 11:03AM
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Got a new section planted up, had put in a new arbor to my yard last year and planted up one side(next to house) with 3 clematis, 2 miniature climbing roses, dwarf daylily and dwarf alstromaria, newest planted side now has climbing rose westerland, Vancouver Morning Mist, winter Jasmine(will grow on fence),cyclemen, wallflower, and one of the hellebore I got from Aftermidnight!;-)
Waiting for it to warm up as I need to weed and get the fish compost onto the beds! I planted a new bed of rhodos, heather, azaelias,asters last year and need to finish the bed off with a rock border, then mulch...oh excitment again...spring fever! Just gotta stay away from plant sale/and/stores, and get what I go planted!!!

    Bookmark   March 27, 2013 at 11:45AM
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