In the Garden: April in Cincinnati

In the Garden: April in Cincinnati

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Our garden guru is excited for the outdoor’s Spring show to begin! Read on as he offers helpful tips and tricks for making your yard a show-stopper this year!

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This is it! The start of the finest time of the year in our area, at least in my opinion. We may have cold, grey winters with just sporadic snow. We may not have mountains and lakes outside our window. But, we do have one of the greatest displays of spring color and this month will start the show.

One of the great things about living in Cincinnati is that there are so many wonderfully landscaped properties and when their flowering trees and shrubs start to bloom we all get to enjoy them. Pick any neighborhood and you’ll see crabapples, cherries, dogwoods, azaleas and even some rhodo’s. And, lets not forget the bulbs like daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths. All I can say is that you should get out and enjoy the season after our long winter.

So, what’s going on in terms of maintaining our gardens? One obvious job is controlling the weeds popping up in our beds and lawn. Just like the flower plants taking advantage of the season, so are the weeds. In my beds, I do equal amounts of pulling and spraying. I make the decision of which to use based on the type of weed and its proximity to other plants. Herbicide drift, or just plain bad aim, is the cause of many desirable plants meeting an untimely death. For that reason, I use a very simple one gallon hand held sprayer. Its easy to carry around in my garden cart and even easier to get right on the target plant. For dandelions and other deep rooted weeds, it really does the job. Hand pulling, especially on wet days when the weeds release from soil so easily, is actually kind of therapeutic. Rather than allow the weeds to ever get out of control, I peruse my beds a couple of times per week so the weeds never gain an advantage.

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April is also when plants start to appear at local garden centers. While internet shopping has become the standard for so many things in our lives, buying live and decent sized plants still requires a trip to a store. Rather than look at it as a chore, look at it as a great way to spend part of a Saturday or a weekday morning with some friends. I can guarantee you that you think you’re going to just buy a few bags of mulch but you’ll come home with some daylilies, some spirea, a hydrangea or two and probably a really neat flowering tree. Its just hard to say no to the potential of plants. You’re happy to pay for what comes in the container and even happier to know its going to get better and better over time.

While its tempting, and even irresistible, to buy plants, its even more important to have an idea where they’re going to go. I have to admit that I’m completely guilty of buying plants and then walking the yard trying to find a spot. I can’t recommend enough having a long term plan for your property whether you do it yourself or hire a professional. Even though plans will change over time, its still better to have some guideline on a theme(s) for your property, awareness of areas that are shady versus sunny or somewhere between, how water flows through your property, how the sun tracks across it and the wind hits it, and the uses of the property that are important to you whether it be for entertaining or harvesting herbs and vegetables or providing play areas for children and pets. Spring, when we’re inspired to get out and start to enjoy the landscape, is a fine time to plan not just for this season but for many seasons to come.