By Pam Erikson
Special to the Langley Advance
Just when we thought spring was finally in full swing, some of us were hit with a massive hail storm last week.
Hail is probably one of the most damaging aspects of weather on plants, creating holes and slices in both foliage and flowers.
But luckily, this is early season, with many more days and weeks for plants to recover, grow new leaves, and restore our satisfaction and pleasure.
The rhodos, azaleas, and peonies are still looking fabulous, although coming to an end; spring bulbs and many other spring bloomers are just finishing – making way for the new stars of the mid-spring/early summer garden – the ferns, euphorbias, heucheras, hostas, grasses, epimediums, and aquilegia, just to name a few – and of course early roses and lilies should be starting to bloom in the next three weeks or so.
The hostas and ferns are looking particularly amazing this year – they loved the wet spring even if we didn’t!
If you have left aquilegia to go to seed in your garden, you will not be surprised to see young plants popping up throughout the beds.
Sometimes they fill in that empty spot; but are easy to weed out if they venture into a forbidden area.
Similarly, the many varieties of campanula – easily seeding themselves throughout the beds, but remember, they are only weeds if you don’t want them there. A weed is simply a plant in the wrong place – like my lovely convallaria (lily of the valley) that we have contained in one area because of the absolutely delicious fragrance at this time of year. But, it’s a weed when it comes up through the adjacent concrete. And, that’s a determined plant.
Now that we are past frost, all the annuals and hanging baskets can be put outside with no fear.
Plant your annual containers and be sure to give them a dose of slow release fertilizer. We like the slow release because it lasts for the entire season and saves a lot of time – plus the plants never go hungry.
And since the weather is changing for the better, remember that those annuals dry out a lot faster than the perennials in the garden beds, so be sure to water them and don’t let them dry out.
Once dried out, it takes them a long time to recover from the stress.
Your roses should have been pruned and fed – but remember not to overfeed them – when it comes to roses, no fertilizer at all is better than too much.
On the other hand, if you are growing veggies and pumpkins – the pumpkins are very heavy feeders.
We grow ours in almost solid compost and those are the happiest pumpkins you ever saw.
If in doubt, look it up or ask – incorrect fertilizing can really make a difference in how your plants grow.
This is the time of year when it seems there is more to do outside than there are hours in the day.
But if you stay on schedule, things don’t get overgrown or neglected and the end result is that you will take more pleasure from the garden later.
As the season progresses, plants grow and cover the soil, diminishing the weeding substantially.
That evening cocktail tastes so much better when you are sitting and viewing the results of your hard work.
– Pam Erikson is owner of Erikson’s Daylily Gardens and Perennials in Langley
and president of the Langley Garden Club