As I write this blog posting today, the wind is blowing and it feels colder than 50 degrees. It reminds me of the old adage, “If you don’t like the weather in Illinois… just wait 5 minutes!” That’s what I love about central Illinois- the daily or hourly variations in temperature.
Most of you have been outside enjoying the mild late winter– early spring season. These garden tips are meant to be a guideline as we move into late spring/summer.
To extend your bloom times of your perennial garden: study your landscape for gaps that could be nicely filled with bulbs. Mark these spots carefully and make a note to order bulbs next August.
When buying bedding plants, choose compact, bushy plants that have not begun to flower.
CAUTION: Watch temperatures– our average last frost date is around Mother’s Day
Shrubs and trees best planted or transplanted in spring, rather than fall, include butterfly bush, dogwood, rose of Sharon, black gum (Nyssa), vitex, red bud, magnolia, tulip poplar, birch, ginkgo, hawthorn and most oaks
Easter lilies past blooming can be planted outdoors. Set the bulbs 2 to 3 inches deeper than they grew in the pot. Mulch well if frost occurs.
Begin planting out summer bulbs such as caladiums and gladioli at 2 week intervals.
Transplant Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) after bloom, but before the foliage disappears.
Examine shrubs for winter injury. Prune all dead and weakened wood.
Groundcovers can be mowed to remove winter burn and tidy plants up. Raise mowers to their highest settings. Fertilize and water to encourage rapid regrowth.
Continue mowing cool season grasses at recommended heights. For complete details, refer to University Extension Guide for Lawn Care.
You can start pruning boxwoods after April 15
Evergreen and deciduous hedges may be sheared. Prune the top narrower than the base so sunlight will reach the lower limbs
Prune spring-flowering ornamentals after they finish blooming