The following are in bloom this week in our Zone 6 gardens: Bleeding hearts (Dicentra spectabilis), Celandine poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum), carpet phlox (Phlox subulata), lilacs, some rhodies and azaleas, one of the dogwoods and the Purple Leaf plum (Prunus cerasifera), also known in our family as “The Laurie Tree.”
The daffodils have finished blooming. Potted daffies that were purchased for instant gratification in our front-door container will be planted directly in the garden shortly. We’ve done this other years with good results.
When I have the time, I cut off all of the daffodil seed pods and throw them back in the garden for “green mulch.” However, according to my fellow Garden Writers of America (GWA) member, Sally Ferguson, it’s not really necessary for the daffies, but it is necessary for the tulip seed pods.
Some pink and yellow “perennial” tulips continue to enchant… at least, those that haven’t been eaten by the naughty voles. (Interestingly, the voles do not bother digging up the daffodil bulbs.) Purchased many years ago (I forget from whom), these tulips are faithful returnees every spring. The “species” tulips do well, too.
An Easter gift of gorgeous potted pink-and-white tulips will also be planted in the garden once their leaves are completely brown. Although more than likely not the “perennial” type of tulips, I just can’t bring myself to relegate them to the compost bin.
All daffodil and tulip foliage will be left to yellow naturally before being removed, as the leaves continue to “feed” the bulbs for next year’s show. I may even sprinkle some organic fertilizer around, and some seeds of annuals such as cleomes and cosmos. I do not tie or braid the foliage although admit to “hiding it” under adjacent hostas and daylilies. By the end of June, any remaining foliage is unceremoniously yanked out.
The winter damage to our shrubs is really surprising, the worst in more than 40 years! Many of the rhododendrons, azaleas, roses, yews, boxwoods, pieris and dwarf Japanese maples look terrible… suffering from windburn and winterkill.
However, the numerous weeds are really healthy looking, especially the wild onions which we have to dig up carefully and dispose of in the trash. There are also many dandelions and wild violets in bloom in our so-called lawn.
The ajuga and grape hyacinths (Muscari) have also spread via their seeds and become “weedy” (according to some of my neighbors). Although I’m not too crazy about the ajuga, I really like the Muscari invasion.
I have sprinkled Preen in some areas to stop more “weed” seeds from germinating. Last year I had good luck with the popular and safe pre-emergent, which is recommended by many of my GWA friends. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve received free samples of Preen to test.
We are trying something new in regard to our peonies, which were late to emerge this year. We’ve always placed cages over them, but it is a lot of work. So no cages this year. Let’s hope we have no rain deluges to knock them down when they are in bloom. To keep the stems from being top heavy, I will trim each bud grouping to just the largest one. The smaller buds never have bloomed for me, anyway. Keeping my fingers crossed.
There are some positives… No recent deer sightings and the hummingbirds have returned! Yeah!