The flowers are blooming and it feels great to be outside! This season is the most beautiful because of the flowers and newly emerging leaves that are now part of the landscape. Your broad leaf evergreens and summer flowering plants have been pruned, your mulch beds are neat and tidy, and the spring flowering shrubs and trees are gorgeous. Your landscape is at its peak this season! Dogwoods and azaleas have a showy display of flowers in the spring. Other plants like landscape roses and iris are wonderful spring flowering plants with a large selection of varieties. Beverley Sills German Iris and a Popcorn Rose make beautiful companions in this photo. German Iris is available in many colors. Also try Siberian or Japanese iris for foliage and flowers different from the German iris. Look for bicolor iris varieties (two colors on one flower). Landscape roses, also known as shrub roses, are long- blooming compact plants that are covered with flowers. Varieties to try are Knock Out Roses that bloom all summer in bright, vivid colors as well as white. Other outstanding landscape roses are the Meidiland and Kordes varieties.

The yellow Knock Out Rose is spectacular in the landscape. Plant a mass of them for continuous, showy color throughout the season!

Here are some spring landscape maintenance tips:

  • Fertilization of all types of landscape plants is done between April 15th and July 15th. Determine which plants need fertilizer. You do not want to fertilize all plants the same. Your fast growing plants like hollies and crape myrtle that are healthy do not need yearly fertilization. Slow growing plants like boxwood and Japanese maple appreciate a yearly feeding. Use a fertilizer that contains quick and slow release nutrients because they give a quick burst of food, as well as a slow feed over a given time period. I also like a fertilizer that does not burn plants, so there is no chance of harming your plants accidentally.
  • Insects are a problem on some plants. Look for signs of insect damage like eaten, sticky or puckered leaves. Treat most plants on an as needed basis. There are some plants like boxwood that need preventative care, so the new growth is not destroyed by insects attracted to the fleshy, new growth. Not controlling this foliage damage year after year can weaken a plant dramatically. If necessary, consult with a professional to help you determine your landscape’s spraying requirements. You do not need to blanket spray your entire property, so be cautious of landscape maintenance companies that suggest this approach. There are a number of good shrub fertilizers that also contain systemic insecticides. They are absorbed by the plant, so last for months. These products can help cut down on the maintenance of spraying.
  • Annuals are plants that are installed yearly to add a blast of exciting color among your evergreens. These plants are installed around May 1st and provide color until frost. Fertilize with a quick release plant food like Miracle-Gro. In sunny areas, try annuals like annual vinca and dwarf snapdragons. Impatiens and begonias work well in the shade.
  • The moderate temperatures, low humidity and adequate rainfall that this season provides are optimum conditions for landscape plants. Watch them flourish and grow. Ideally, they are now strong enough to tolerate the upcoming, harsh summer conditions. Be prepared to start watering in late spring and summer.
  • Prune spring flowering shrubs like azaleas, camellias and forsythias immediately after they bloom. Wait too long and you prune off the developing flower buds for next spring’s flowers.

    Visit my pruning page to learn how to prune many types of landscape plants.

    Attention all renovators and lovers of historic architecture and landscape architecture! A client of mine has added a new division to their company, The Old House Authority, to offer wrought iron fence posts for antique fencing. The landscape of their historic home in the Churchill area of Richmond, VA is surrounded by a beautiful antique wrought iron fence. They found the fence panels in a salvage yard, but could not find posts. This made them search out the help of a foundry to make posts for them. They are now offering their line of reproduction fence posts and they are gorgeous. See more at the web page for Old House Authority

    Gator bags are a great invention that make watering trees so easy and efficient. They are installed around the trunk of the tree and are filled 2-3 times per week with 20 gallons of water. The water is released slowly so it penetrates deeply into the soil.

    I have just seen a new design for a gator bag this season. It lays flat on the ground around the trunk like mulch. It is an interesting design that I imagine is very efficient.

    This is the time of year that evergreens shed their old foliage. Many people are alarmed to see so many leaves yellow and fall off their evergreens. Southern magnolia and American holly can look especially stark during this time. The new growth quickly fills out your evergreens again.

    Enjoy the time outside among the flowers. This is the time of year to reap the rewards of your hard work!

    Please contact me to inquire about my landscape design and consulting services.

    Nancy Dransfield
    Landesign of Virginia, Inc.
    P.O. Box 15582
    Richmond, Virginia 23227
    Office: 804-261-6773