TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – Blood, sweat, and scissors are preparing the 50-acre Toledo Botanical Gardens for another season – and head gardener Jonathan Milbrodt has some advice that can help prepare your home garden as well.
“Aside from the obvious – leaf cleaning for leftover things from autumn and stick / branch cleaning from all the winter storms we’ve had – now is a good time to end your dormant winter pruning,” suggests Milbrodt. “You want to get it done now while you can still see what you’re pruning before those buds leaf out and it becomes harder to see the inner parts of the plant – not just cutting out the deadwood, but also allowing good air to circulate in your trees and bushes. “
This is especially true for certain types of harsher flora: “Herbaceous perennials – things that we left over for our winter interests, such as ornamental grasses, Annabelle hydrangeas – you now want to prune back before new growth emerges.”
Plant debris that you chop away can also prove useful to start a compost heap in your garden bed for recycling: “As soon as the compost falls apart after a few years,” suggests Milbrodt, “you can put it back in your garden beds to convert to help get the nutrients. “
The recent rapid transition to mild temperatures may have caused some upheaval in the soil as well. “These newer plants, these perennials with shallow roots, could lift themselves out of winter. So just check the base for exposed roots, ”offers Milbrodt. “You should dig them a few inches into the ground and make sure those roots are back under the ground, protected, and ready to absorb the moisture from the spring rain.
Milbrodt also recommends edging your garden beds early: “When you come into late spring / early summer, you are so busy planting, watering and mulching – edging your beds can now be a real time-saver. Sometimes you may need to recut a little, but doing the bulk of it now can save you time and only need to recut in specific areas where you have washed out. “
You don’t have to look around too long before you see sure signs of spring in the air. “The snowdrops, sometimes you’ll see them blooming as early as late January to February, and we’ve got some blooming now,” says Milbrodt, pointing to the drooping white examples in one of several garden beds that line the site. “We also have winter aconite, those little yellow flowers are in bloom now.”
You can take a look at the over 2300 plant species from TBG on their website.
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