Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

Upper South

April, 2007
Regional Report

Moving Easter Lilies to the Garden

To keep Easter lilies blooming as long as possible, remove the anthers immediately after the flowers open. This also keeps the blooms from being stained by the pollen. Once the plant is done blooming, cut off the faded flowers, leave the rootball intact, and set the plant 2 inches deeper in the garden than it was in the pot to increase the plant's ability to withstand cold temperatures. Choose a site in sun or light shade with rich, well-drained soil. In the fall, apply an organic mulch.

Dealing With Effects of the Cold Spell

The recent cold spell, with temperatures going from the 70s and 80s down to the mid- to lower 20s, is going to have marked effect on gardens this year. It was really hit-and-miss as to which plants were affected and to what degree. Young, succulent leaves on trees will probably die, but secondary leaf buds will come out as the weather warms. Hostas and daylilies were hit hard, but after cutting off damaged foliage, new growth should emerge. Take a wait-and-see approach to determine if plants survived or not.

Plant Fragrant Possibilities

Although each season has signature scents in the garden, the fragrances of spring are especially notable. Make sure you enjoy the ones already in your garden, and plan on adding more. Lilacs and lily-of-the-valley are old-fashioned favorites. The spring-blooming, scented viburnums are good choices, too. Among the possibilities are Viburnum x burwoodii, V. x carlcephalum, V. carlesii, and V. x juddii. These are all deciduous and grow to at least 8 feet tall. For a small garden, choose V. x carlesii 'Compactum'. If you want an evergreen plant, consider V. x pragense.

Prune Early-Flowering Shrubs and Trees

Early-flowering shrubs and trees bear their blooms on last year's growth, so immediately after they finish blooming is the best time to prune them to reduce their size or reshape them. Try to cut out some of the older stems on shrubs every year, allowing new growth from the base to develop. If a shrub is overgrown and hasn't been pruned in years, it can be cut back to 8 to 12 inches. Spireas, lilacs, deutzias, forsythias, among others, respond well to this seemingly harsh treatment.

Give Roses TLC

Remove mulch from around roses, and prune to remove winter damage and to shape plants, always pruning to an outward-facing bud. Apply a handful of Epsom salts around each plant, scratching it into the soil surface. Later in the month, apply a balanced rose fertilizer. Continue feeding once a month until August, following manufacturer's directions.


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