Landscaping Newsletter and Garden Tips
Spring, 2019      Volume 156

A Personal Message
I've been looking forward to this spring FOREVER!  What a long cold winter it was here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

But, we managed to finish a few projects around our offices and warehouse.  Here's the big reveal for the first one...  
We leveled our parking lot.  We also prepared the road between our offices and warehouse.  Then, we began to gravel the surfaces.  
The surface areas hadn't been graveled since our initial move to this property.  We've been here almost 15 years.  
Over 140 yards of gravel were used on our hard surface areas.  Special care was taken around the 30 yard dumpster that is the "centerpiece" of our landscaping.   
You can really tell the difference between the areas of fresh gravel and the older areas.  We have 10 trucks and 20 people, driving and walking on these areas every day! 
There were more winter projects on our property too.  I revamped my 4 raised bed vegetable gardens.  We also prepped them for the growing season.   
We removed over half of the soil in each raised bed vegetable garden.  There was way too much dirt in each bed.  Then, we blended horse manure with topsoil and refilled the boxes. 
A 50/50 blend of aged horse manure and topsoil was added to my raised bed gardens. 
And, finally, we were able to complete a spring clean up on our landscape beds around the property.  We weeded, cleaned out the winter debris and mulched each of the gardens.     
Lisa is cutting back my Knock Out Roses and trimming our boxwoods that border the  
St. Michaels Road. 
Just look at those fresh piles of mulch, waiting to be spread. 
Happy Spring!

Spring Garden Tips

*  It seems as if spring is the garden's busiest time of year.  After the cold weather this past winter, everyone wants to be outdoors.  Hurry up Spring! 
Just look at the beautiful spring flowers at the Aiken House. 

We culled our reference books and scoured the internet for April's most interesting garden tips.  Here's some of the best hints we found...

Tip:  Prune Spring-Flowering Bulbs:  As daffodils, hyacinths and tulips fade, clip off their flower stalks. This encourages the plants to store energy in their bulbs.  
Just be sure to leave the foliage alone until it fades naturally. The plant needs the leaves to make energy for next year's flowers.
Here's a link to a 43 second youtube video on how to cut back daffodils. 
Tip:   Never thought of this one before...
To camouflage spring bulb foliage as it dies, interplant annual flowers around the bulbs.  By the time bulbs die back completely, the annuals will have carpeted the area with bloom.
Bearded Iris, Peonies and Amsonia are combined here with Lavender and even Chives!  Daffodils grew here in early Spring. 
Tip:  Weeds Need to be Pulled:  You're not going to like this one!
WEEDING, WEEDING AND MORE WEEDING is your #1 outdoor chore in April.

Sorry, that's probably not what you want to hear.  However, now is the time to pull weeds, especially when the root system is small.  Weeds that go to seed are much more difficult to control.

Attack while you have the advantage. Hand weeding is easier while the soil is still moist from winter rain and snows.  
There are also multiple garden tools that can be used to sever weeds.  With either method, try to disturb the soil as little as possible. The more soil turned over, the more dormant weed seeds that are brought to the surface, germinating as reinforcements.   
Here are some of the different tools our landscaping teams sometimes use to extract difficult weeds.  Just like mousetraps, someone is always inventing a new garden tool.  We think this array works just fine! 
Last Tip:  Remember to have fun.

Planting your Spring Garden

I always love to write about planting a spring garden.  Planning (and planting!) a spring garden really brings a smile to my face.

I found an excellent article from "Better Homes & Gardens" when I was researching this piece.  It's called "Ten Steps to Beginning a Garden."  The link is included below.  I'll also discuss this article a little more.

This article offers great advice for novice and seasoned gardeners alike.  Here's the link:  https://www.bhg.com/gardening/yard/garden-care/ten-steps-to-beginning-a-garden/

I really like the combination of herbs and flowers in a garden.  Best of both worlds!

I like the common sense approach of the Better Homes & Gardens article.  It starts with "Get an Idea."  Vegetables, flowers, herbs or a combination?  Then, it discusses the location of the new garden.  Sun or shade?  Close to a water source?  Is it near enough to your home to be of interest to watch it grow? 

The BHG article continues with suggestions about preparing the ground and improving the soil.  It discusses selecting the plants, proper installation and the need for mulch.  The article ends with advice on watering and general maintenance procedures.

Each step is succinct and well written.  It's a good primer for beginners and an excellent read for seasoned gardeners too.

If a DYI project is not on your agenda this spring, we may be able to help!  We offer landscape design services in-house.  Our general manager, Dave Lee, graduated from George Washington University with a degree in Landscape Design.  Call and let us offer you a free, no-cost consultation.   
And, I personally may be able to help, if you have any questions about herb and vegetable gardening.

I plant a lot of vegetables in my raised bed gardens and actually use them for cooking and canning.  Same with herbs.

If you tell me what you enjoy cooking, I can offer suggestions about what pairs well and grows easily, here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  Don't hesitate to contact me for advice...I can discuss food ideas all day!

I used every inch of this garden last year.  Look at the captions to see what we planted.