Five Spring Garden Chores You Shouldn’t Forget
- Check the soil level in your planter boxes. The soil settles and compacts over the year(s). I have often seen client’s boxes that are less than half full. Replenish with organic potting soil and/or compost.
- Test your irrigation system and repair any broker emitters and spray heads.
- Clean and sharpen your hand pruners, trowels, shovels and spades. It will make gardening so much easier.
- Fertilize your ornamental shrubs to encourage healthy spring growth. I like to use gentle and natural fertilizers such as fish meal emulsion mixed with water.
- Clean up and cut back any ratty branches and twigs of perennials that you didn’t take care of this winter. Make room for new growth!
Tips and tools for Gardeners with Disabilities
- If you have arthritis in your hands www.ArthritisSupply.com has a list of gardening tools that might help. Oxo Good Grips has a line of gardening tools with nice big handles.
- If you have painful knees invest in knee pads. Duluth Trading Company has a line of gardening pants called Heirloom Gardening Pants that have pockets where you can insert knee pads. You can also keep it simple and buy a foam gardening mat.
- If your back is troublesome try out a gardening seat. Some gardening tool buckets double as seats when you put the cover on them. Milwaukee Bucket Organizer Bag is just one example. Raised beds about 18-24” high with built in benches eliminate a lot of back strain while gardening too but that requires a bigger monetary investment.
Four Fabulous Native Plants for Part Shade
I was cruising through California Flora Nursery’s website the other day looking at part shade plants. There are many cultivars of normally sun-loving plants that can take a decent amount of light shade.
- Arctostaphylos “Sebastopol White” (Manzanita) is an 8 foot shrub that has sweet little white flowers and beautiful bark. It is very drought tolerant.
- Salvia “Mrs Beard” (Sage/Salvia) grows 2 feet tall and spreads 4-6 feet wide. It has grey-green leaves and sweet pale lavender flowers.
- Ceanothus hearstiorum (Hearst Ceanothus/California Lilac) can take a lot more shade than most ceanothus. It is a low growing ground cover that tops out at 1 foot tall by 6 feet wide. It has tiny, wrinkly little leaves that are more deer resistant than most ceanothus. Sweet blue flowers appear in spring.
- Epilobium “Select Mattole” (California Fuchsia/Zauschneria) can take light shade as well. It grows about 6 inches tall and spreads by rhizomes. If you like orangy-red flowers this is your plant. It blooms solidly from late summer through late fall. Cut it back in winter for best results.