How Does Your Garden Grow?

Getting ready for April showers and May flowers?

Take some tips from our Garden Adventurer, L.A. Jackson, on what to do during the next month to get your garden in gear.

To Do in March

  • Want more asters, bleeding hearts, astilbes, ajuga, oxalis, coral bells, phlox, hostas, liriope, daylilies, shasta daisies and other similar perennials? If they are beginning to become crowded in your garden, now is the time to divide and transplant these pretties.
  • How about more mint, creeping thyme, tarragon and chives? These herbal helpers can be divided at this time, too.
  • After the flowers of naturalizing bulbs such as crocus, daffodils, hyacinths, ipheion and species tulips fade, allow the foliage to wilt and turn brown before pruning back. While the leaves are green, they continue to absorb energy for next year’s flower show.

To Do in April

  • The best mint for the garden is the contained mint. Unless you are looking for a fragrant, rampant groundcover, plant mint in a pot to restrain its ability to run crazy through the garden.
  • ’Tis time to fertilize. In particular, established roses, shrubs, perennials and trees will benefit from a wake-up jolt of nutrients early in the month. To minimize this job for the rest of the growing season, use a time-release fertilizer that will slowly send nutrients into the root zone over the next several months.
  • An additional, all-natural way to add extra nutrients is to also work generous helpings of compost into growing beds.

Timely Tip
What color would you like your hydrangea to be this year? Many cultivars of Hydrangea macrophylla are sensitive to soil pH, so in growing ground that is well limed to the point of becoming alkaline, their flowers are deep pink. In acidic soils or planting beds that have been treated with sulfur or an aluminum sulfate solution, the flowers turn blue. Such shifty color changing will be made faster if this hydrangea is planted in the confines of a large pot or planter.

L.A. Jackson is the former editor of Carolina Gardener magazine. Want to ask L.A. a question about your garden? Contact him by email at

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