We are officially two weeks into spring and no one has told the weather. These random cold snaps can be deadly for plants that are just sprouting and potted plants. If you’re worried about the new little shoots in your garden, try covering them with plastic or garden fleece. This will help keep them from loosing radiant heat, but be sure to stake the plastic up so that it isn’t resting on any part of the plant. Just remember to remove the cover when the temperature goes back up. Potted plants can be covered in sheets or blankets. Its even better if you can move all the pots to one place so that they can huddle for warmth, like penguins.
But if you’re like me, flowers mean spring and even these last minute frosts can’t temper my excitement. Even though the forsythia has mostly finished blooming, those bright yellow flowers are basically the heralds of spring. The redbuds, with their tiny but colorful flowers, remain my favorite of the native flowering trees. And don’t even get me started on the azaleas!
Spring also means that we’ve started getting even busier here at Art of Stone. We’ve several ongoing projects, besides the mulching, maintenance, fertilizing, and weeding that the start of a new growing season demands. We’ve built and repaired several dry creek beds to help clients with steep yards control erosion, added some rip rap to a river bank also to help with erosion, as well as replacing a lawn with a garden.
While grass is one way to fill a landscape, it isn’t mandatory to have a lawn. More and more people are ditching high maintenance grass for something a little more natural. Grass provides an open safe place for kids and pets to play but also has to be mowed at least once a week in the summers and dead patches from shade or over-watering are nurseries for weeds. Not to mention how many people still spend too much money watering their grass too much, even after that drought that nearly killed Lake Lanier. The Grumpy Gardener from Southern Living has a lot to say on that subject.
Instead of just having grass, why not draw inspiration from forests. Layers of trees, shrubs, and perennials will cut down on the cost of maintenance, at least if designed correctly, and will look way better than a lone patch of grass*. Trees, both large and medium sized, provide shade that will kill most grasses but that will help shade plants, like hostas, retain moisture. Shrubs create safe homes and perches for birds. Perennials are more than just flowering plants, some can be herbs or medicinal. Or they can just be cool flowering plants that we love. Once established, native and hardy plants hardly ever need watering. Native plants also have the benefit of being more deer tolerant than non-native plants.
So if you are considering switching from lawn to luscious, dare to take the plunge. “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, the next best time is today.” This quote is credited to an old Chinese proverb and is probably meant to be metaphorical, but I take it literally. Lets plant some trees today.
*This statement is the Author’s opinion and in no way reflex upon the opinions of Art of Stone Gardening or it’s affiliates.**
** This doesn’t mean that the Author’s opinion isn’t right.