Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Inland Northwest, High Desert
April, 2004
Regional Report

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Spread a daylily's roots out like a petticoat onto a volcano-shaped mound of soil. Then gently tamp soil into all the air pockets, water in, and enjoy her for years to come.

Stick with the Safe Bets

Gardening is one part luck, one part skill, and one part weather forecasting. We can make our own luck much of the time, and learn and employ new skills, but most of us have no idea what the weather's going to do next. Not even the professional prognosticators will stick their necks out very far. It is said that in our region, weather is so fickle the Air Force won't even try to predict it.

We had one of the loveliest first days of spring ever this year. Temperatures soared over seasonal averages both day and night. So does that mean we can plant as though we'll have frost-free nights from here? Hardly.

Just a Little Bare Root, Please
Average nighttime temperatures still don't top the freezing mark. Although it's fun to push the odds a little now and then, the safe bet is to stick with the tried-and-true.

Plant these bare-root: roses, daylilies, berries, and fruit trees (containerized trees and shrubs do well now, too), and transplant those you already have in place. They're still mostly dormant and won't mind a little change of scenery.

Plant peas, asparagus, rhubarb, lettuce, horseradish, and artichokes now. They prefer cooler temperatures. In another week or so, plant spinach, chard, cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts.

Plant pansies and violas and primroses for instant spring color if your spring bulbs aren't blooming yet. These old favorites fill in nicely around tall daffodil and tulip stalks.

Even the Carefree Ones Like a Little Special Care
Dayliles and roses prefer to be placed in big, roomy holes. Their roots spread out like petticoats, and they appreciate the extra space. Once you've dug the hole wide enough to spread out those roots, take some of the backfill and form a volcano shape in the middle. Build it high enough to support the crown of the daylily at soil level, and the rose graft (if present) about 1 inch below soil level.

Spread out the petticoats and hold the main stalk gently with one hand while scooping and tamping down the soil all around with the other. Water well and keep at least 2 inches of mulch around the plants year-round. Happy Spring!

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