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The weather is getting warmer and the snow is melting. If you’re new to gardening, you might be wondering what you should be doing so that you will have a beautiful garden when summer comes around. Is it too early to start planting? What do you need to do to get ready for the even warmer weather that’s coming?

At Ambius, we’re plant experts both indoors and outdoors. So, if you are wondering what you need to be doing with your backyard garden this early in the spring, here are five things you should consider.

1. Weeding

Although there is still a chill in the air, early spring weeds are a real thing and they can be a real problem. Head out into the yard and start pulling those weeds. Make sure that you get them at the root so they don’t grow back.

2. Cleaning

Lots of debris can build up since you last checked out your garden in the fall. There might still be dead leaves piled up, some of it perhaps blown into the garden from the neighbor’s yard. You can also go out and remove any leftover snow or ice that might still be piled up.

3. Fertilizing

The winter can be very harsh on the soil, making it dried out, hard and compact. That kind of soil makes it tough for plants to take root and grow, so now is the time to prepare it. That does mean tilling it, turning the soil to prepare it for planting, but you also need to take this time to add compost or fertilizer. Use organic material for some of the best results. This will nourish the soil so that it’s ready for your plants and allow them to grow more effectively. You can also add layers of mulch so that weeds don’t take hold again and make a comeback.

4. Pruning

If you haven’t pruned your yard’s plants, shrubs and trees yet this year , now is the time. Pruning is necessary for the health of the plants. Done right, pruning encourages the plants to grow and keeps them healthy and growing all season long. Pruning also keeps the bushes and plants looking beautiful and well-trimmed. Be sure to prune summer plants during the early spring months.

5. Planting

Yes, there is vegetation and floral that you can be planting right now. There are some early spring flowers and vegetables that will do just fine if you plant them now.

Some of the flowers you might want to consider include:

  • Snapdragons
  • Lilac
  • Pansies
  • Tulips

Some of the vegetables that you might want to consider planting now include:

  • Peas
  • Lettuce
  • Arugula
  • Cabbage
  • Spinach

Now is also the time to bring out any plants that you might have brought indoors during the colder months, such as tomato plants. Keep a vigil on your garden during this time of year as the weather can be temperamental and late-winter/early-spring snowstorms, frosts and cold snaps can happen, so be prepared to cover those seedlings that manage to come out during the warmer weeks.

Apr 7, 2019 6:28:06 PM By HG mart Tomato News

Invasive Perennials

Here are five of the most invasive plants you may want to think twice about planting.

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the valley

Lily of the valley

You may be familiar with lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis) because of its appearance in many royal bridal bouquets and most recently carried by the Duchess of York.

This perennial plant grows from underground rhizomes that spread horizontally and often with amazing speed. They have lovely lush green leaves and delicate, sweet-smelling white flowers that resemble tiny bells on stalks.

The scent of a lily of the valley is heavenly. It is no wonder they have graced the arms of many blushing brides throughout the centuries. They also are rumored to symbolize luck in love.

However, the blooms don’t last long. The stalk-like leaves do remain for the rest of the growing season, making an attractive ground cover.

Lily of the valley isn’t always an invasive plant. It could more suitably be called aggressive. The rhizomes of the plant are powerful. They can tunnel and spread with ease and will do so unless the plant is in poor soil.

So if you want this plant to stay contained in a small area, be prepared to do a lot of digging every year or to be frustrated. It will take over the habitats of your other plants.

If, however, you have a large area or don’t mind a spreading plant, you may love having lily of the valley in your yard.

Japanese Anemone

Japanese anemone flowers

Japanese anemone

Most of us don’t think of anemones as a fall flower. These tall, graceful stems with delicate, umbrella-like petals remind most of us of spring or summer.

However, Japanese anemones do bloom when most other flowers are dying, for about 8 weeks. This makes them especially prone to be invasive in cool climates.

Anemones flower in August and usually continue through mid-October. Plants can grow 2 to 4 feet tall and display 2 to 4 inch wide flowers in bright colors including white, pink, and dark rose. There are three main varieties:

  • Hupehensis have rose pink flowers and have better heat and drought tolerance.
  • Vitifolia are often bright pink and flower a little later. They are hardiest in cold and least likely to suffer from winter injury.
  • Hybrida are hybrids of the first two and come in various shades from white to almost red.

Although these flowers sound beautiful, and they are, Japanese anemones will tolerate almost any variety of sun, from full sun to moderate shade. They do well in most types of soil but what they really like is loose mulch and soil. In these conditions, Japanese anemones can become invasive, forming almost like a tall ground cover.

If you are not careful you could end up with a whole garden full of clusters of these tall white flowers.

Yarrow

Yarrow flowers

Yarrow

You have seen yarrow in many bridal bouquets in the last ten years or so. It looks like a wildflower and has a bright yellow, red, white or light pink color. The tiny flowers grow in large, umbrella-shaped clusters, so each stalk can take up a large surface area.

The reason this flower looks like a wildflower is that it is essentially, a weed. In addition, it can get quite invasive.

Yarrow is easy to care for and comes in many new colors and sizes now. However, you might find it easily invading other beds and even down into your grass.

The reason for this is that it’s highly adaptable. Like many other invasive plants, it can grow in any soil and under many conditions. Additionally, as you may have guessed – it spreads from rhizomes! Just like lily of the valley, the plant spreads underground.

Any disruption of the rhizome and it breaks off, forming a new plant. Then the flowers produce many thousands of seeds which can be spread by the wind and remain viable for 9 years. That is one tenacious plant.

If you think you’re going to plant yarrow and keep it completely under control, think again.

Ferns

Ferns

Ferns

I don’t know why ferns have a reputation for being difficult to keep alive. In cool climates, these plants are impossible to dig out and can become the most dominant plant in a forest or even moderately shady location.

Ferns grow everywhere, in shade and sun, and grow from rhizomes (no big surprise there). The other thing ferns do is use a form of chemical warfare called allelopathy to inhibit the growth of other plants in surrounding areas.

That is why you see them dominate shady woodland areas. The combination of their hardiness and shade tolerance coupled with having a chemical upper hand makes them the most dominant plant around.

The best way to control your fern population is to keep some of these beauties in pots around your patio or from hanging baskets on the porch. You can even keep them inside as long as you water them regularly. But if you plant them in your garden or under your trees, be prepared to constantly fight them back to keep them in their designated area.

Creeping Bellflower

Creeping bellflower

Creeping bellflower

Ladybells or false campanula are one thing: they look sort of like a purple lily of the valley. These guys aren’t invasive, they are good in partial shade and they don’t take a lot of care. They can sometimes be aggressive. However, they aren’t even close to the invasiveness of the creeping bellflower (Campanula rapunculoides).

These blue, trumpet-shaped flowers grow in a tall stem. You have probably seen them in and around your yard and thought, oh, those are pretty. I didn’t plant them, but I’ll keep them!

This is a bad idea. In addition, definitely don’t buy them if you come across them for sale.

Creeping bellflower spreads via rhizome and seeds – just like yarrow. Those rhizomes are 8 inches beneath the surface. In addition, they are moving under all your flower beds, under your lawn, and anywhere this plant wants to go.

This perennial thrives in dry soil, wet soil, full sun or full shade. It can even self pollinate and make seeds. This is why it has gotten the classification of noxious weed in some areas. Do your garden a favor and dig it up if you find it, as soon as you find it.

Conclusion

It can be hard to say goodbye to any beautiful plant – and each of these qualifies as that easily. The problem comes when a plant wants to colonize every area of the world. We know that biodiversity is actually better. Try keeping these invasive perennials to a minimum by planting them in pots or not at all.

Mar 26, 2019 10:38:06 PM By HG mart Tomato News

1.Sort out the bedding

Dig up and replace any dead plants in garden flower bed, cut back any perennials and spread out a strong layer of organic fertiliser, manure or mulch (this can be bark, grass clippings, dry leaves or even old newspaper.

2.Plant Evergreens

Green-fingered Brits can brighten up dull winter gardens with colourful and hardy varieties of year-round plants – great choices include heather, primulas and witch hazel.

3.Remove vulnerable species

Gently dig up any tender plants or bulbs that would be susceptible to frost damage (along with the top soil), trim the stems and find them a more suitable place to spend the winter – such as in a box on a cool indoor window sill.

4.Take extra precautions

If hanging baskets and potted plants can be moved into a less exposed porch, patio or conservatory, take the opportunity during the winter; also wrap burlap, tarpaulin or fabric around any delicate tree trunks or shrubs.

5.Clean up

Remove any rubble or debris, collect any personal rubbish or diseased foliage, and clear away any disused or broken items from your garden – it’s not complicated.

6.Clear the gutters

Regularly clear fallen leaves from gutters and drains around the outside of the house and any outbuildings, to prevent any inconvenient blockages – those with lots of trees should consider investing in a wire cover.

7.Hoard grit

Tossing salt on icy paths and patios might do, but the best prepared British gardeners will get their hands on a bag of product especially designed to save them from slipping this winter.

8.Don’t forget to water

The icy cold outside won’t necessarily mean wet weather every week, so if a few days pass without any rainfall, it is still important to give the garden a once over with a hose or can, just as in summer.

9.Remove soft furnishings

Cushions, sun loungers, picnic blankets and other summer essentials should be stored away for the winter in sheds, lofts or cellars, along with weak plastic garden ware and metal items that may be vulnerable to winter rusting.

10.Rake the lawn

Get rid of any moss or thatch on the garden grass with a good old-fashioned rake and use the prongs to aid drainage and ventilation – this will help the lawn establish firm roots over the winter.

11.Stock the shed

Gardens exposed to the worst of the winter weather need all the help they can get, so it is vital to ensure all tools in the shed are capable of doing their jobs – service, sharpen or swap any that aren’t up to scratch.

12.Clean water butts

Any tanks collecting water for plants should be emptied and cleaned before the height of winter, allowing plenty of time for natural rainwater to collect before it is needed in the spring.

13.Refresh the compost

Autumn tidying will generate plenty of organic waste on compost heaps, so winter is the perfect time to spread it around the garden and start afresh for the new year.

14.Cover ponds

Place a thin mesh net or tarpaulin over ponds and any other standing water, such as in features, to avoid problems with putrefying leaves – they can then be easily collected from on top of the material and composted.

15.Take care of wood

Fix any loose screws or edges on fences, decking or wooden garden structures in advance of the worst of the weather and paint or spray wooden surfaces with an appropriate wood preservative product.

16.Let the sun in the shed

Use hot water and muscle power to remove shade paint from greenhouse or shed windows, to allow as many of the suns warming rays through as possible this winter.

17.Be kind to birds

Non-migratory birds are especially vulnerable during the colder months, so it is vital for big-hearted Brits to leave well stocked feeders and water baths around their winter gardens.

18.Watch the waterworks

Any outside taps should be isolated and drained, or if this is impossible then insulated and covered, to reduce the likelihood of burst pipes or other damage in freezing weather.

Feb 24, 2019 10:07:12 PM By HG mart Tomato News

Your garden is all snug as a bug for the winter, but your green thumb is itching to do something outside in the yard. What’s a gardener to do? Well, there are a few things that you could busy yourself with if the mood strikes. With that in mind, we’ve gathered a few garden tips for the winter that might satisfy your need for some wintry fresh air. 

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Feb 20, 2019 10:17:18 PM By HG mart Tomato News

Growing tomatoes is often the impetus for starting a vegetable garden and every tomato lover dreams of growing the ultimate tomato. Firm, but juicy. Sweet, but tangy. Aromatic and blemish free. Perfection.

Unfortunately, there are few vegetables that are prone to more problems than tomatoes. The trick to growing great tasting tomatoes is to choose the best varieties, start the plants off right, and control problems before they happen. Start here with some time-tested tomato growing tips, to ensure your tomato bragging rights this year.

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