Things to Do in the Garden this Spring

Story by Julie Roland, adapted from her Route 64 Journal and used with permission. Photo by Hal Goodtree.

Cary, NC – Who is ready for Spring? It won’t be long now. The trees around my house have leaf buds and some are even beginning to bloom. Here’s my list of Things to Do in the Garden this spring.

Nothing gives more satisfaction than creating a beautiful garden around your home. You can design your garden to attract birds and butterflies. And, if you’re thinking about selling your house, a nice garden adds curb appeal and homey charm.

1. Clean Up

The first chore in late winter is cleaning up the garden. Get rid of any dead stalks and leaves from last year. Clear off the old mulch (lots of pests sleeping in there).

2. Lawns

Most lawns in the Triangle need fertilizer in the spring. It really helps to also lay down some weed, pest and disease control. I always get a contract with a landscaper for this because they know what to put down and when. They also remember to do it. See the links below for some local landscaping companies that can help out.

3. Trees

Most trees need a shot of fertilizer in the spring. Tree spikes (a fertilizer spike you pound into the ground around the drip line) work well. Many landscaping companies inject liquid fertilizer into the tree roots which is very effective.

4. Flowers

Spring flowering bulbs and plants are usually planted in the autumn here in Chatham County and across the Carolina Piedmont.

Now is the time to begin planting flowers for late spring and summer bloom. Ask your garden store or landscaper for some suggestions.

Fertilize flowering plants after they bloom.

5. Edibles

Devote a sunny patch or even just a couple of pots to growing something you can eat. Lettuce is super-easy to grow in the spring but bolts in the heat of summer. You can get a package of seeds or even little seedlings at the local garden stores. Try it!

6. Shrubs

Most landscapes make too little use of shrubs. While autumn is the preferred time to plant shrubs in Chatham County, you can do it almost anytime of year.

If you are planting shrubs in the spring, dig a five dollar hole for a one dollar plant. Add soil amendments like Black Cow and Triple Phosphate. Keep it well-watered, especially during the heat of the first summer.

Special Shoutout – Vines!

Vines are an underused garden delight. They can add vertical interest in sun or shade, but take up far less room than even a small tree.

Clematis is super-popular in the Piedmont. It comes in a wide variety of colors, easy care and absolutely gorgeous with a long bloom period.

Be careful with Morning Glories because they can be invasive. Ditto ivy – it’s a great climber, grows well in shade, but keep it off the bricks. Impossible to dig out.


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