The time for new life and growth, along with the incredible transitions from the blahs of winter, is found in the spring garden. Springtime in the garden is often rainy and still relatively cool, but with the teaser of sunny and warmer days to come. With weddings, migrating birds and new growth, spring gardens are symbols of the young love, freshness, and emerging new life.
Along with all this earthly turmoil, spring is the busiest time of the year for both gardeners and plants alike. Although it varies by zone, a spring garden offers a weekly progression of change. With minds of their own, plants and wildlife follow patterns not necessarily along our own calendars. Therefore, we will break down the spring garden into three main categories: early, middle, and late.
The Early Spring Garden
The most significant changes occur in the early spring. From the Vernal Equinox, the first day of spring, on March 21st, we begin to see the dark, drab of winter turn to the light, colorful days of new life. Early spring blooms offer more of a show due to the lack of leaves and other plant growth. Be sure to get out and begin to explore your garden again, enjoying the first hints of the beauty to come.
Early Spring Chores
With every season there come new chores in the garden. In early spring it is especially important to get out and evaluate the condition of your yard. Take a walk with a notebook and pen. You will be able to see the basic structure of your garden, which will help you to plan for changes and redesigns.
Additional chores to keep in mind:
With a flower for every season, the following plants offer varieties that bloom in early spring. Check with your local nursery or our zone guide to find the best ones for your climate.
- Glory of the Snow
- Pussy Willow
- Other Bulbs
Middle Spring in the Garden
Mid spring is known for full trees and planting time. Hardier plants can be placed into the ground, particularly the flowers that will bring you the glory in late spring, summer, or even fall. While most vegetables must be planted in late spring, after all danger of frost has passed, early spring allows for the growth and harvest of the hardier plants like lettuce, spinach, kale, and peas.
Mid Spring Chores
As the days grow longer and warmer, getting out into the garden for chore time is becoming less of a chore. Savor these days as the perfect opportunity to enjoy the beginning of life in the spring garden and get on top of problems before they explode.
- New plantings of hardier plants and seeds
- Select, buy, and plant most annuals
- Cut back, reshape, or relocate plants in your yard
- Quickly react and attack weeds and other unwanted plants before they begin to grow and flower
- Keep close tabs on sudden unseasonable weather patterns and protect sensitive or young plants
- Stock your container garden with young seedlings
- Evaluate your lawn, treating and addressing problems
- Shape prune larger plants, bushes, and trees
- For warmer zones it is time to fertilize
- Pinching and deadhead flowers to lengthen bloom time
Mid Season Blooms
A garden in the middle of spring is on fast forward. Plants and flowers seem to materialize out of thin air. Don't take even a couple days off, or you may miss the amazing scenery.
- Cherry Trees
- Lily of the Valley
Late Spring Gardens
With the passing of Mother's Day, comes the tail of spring in the garden. May is the traditional month of flowers and the height of color in the yard. This is the time to get out and truly enjoy the splendor of the season.
Chores for Late Spring
Now is the time to find a quiet spot and benefit from the fruits of your efforts. Although there are still chores to do, the garden has also begun to shine back.
- Vegetable garden time - prep, plant, water, feed, and grow
- The threat of frost is gone for most regions, so it is the time to plant everything
- Bring out those tender bulbs and tubers stored for the winter
- First or second feeding of fertilizer depending on your zone
- Time for the first dose of lawn fertilizer
- Visit public gardens and bring a notebook for inspiring ideas
Late Season Blooms
Although late spring is the height of color in the garden, the following plants typically give their first show at this time.
- Crab Apples
- Golden Chain Tree