Spring Bling

Signs of life begin to emerge.

by Charlie Thigpen

March quickly makes us forget about our brutally cold winter. The seasons are changing as the drab, dormant hues of brown and gray morph into chartreuse green foliage and a riot of blooms. As the soil warms, the landscape changes quickly and plump buds unfurl daily. Camellias, cherry trees, daffodils, forsythia, pansies, poppies, red buds and many others dazzle us with colorful petals. We are glad to see winter’s gloom fade as new life, hope and beauty surround us.
Things To Do
Perennials are beginning to emerge and so are weeds that inevitably come with them. Pull or spray the unwanted vegetation before it spreads into your landscape. Edge your turf areas for a crisp edge that is visually pleasing. It’s nice to have a clear visual image of where turf ends and shrubs or flowerbeds begin. Fertilize pansies, violas and the rising perennials to give them a little boost. It’s also a good time to replace any shrubs or trees that didn’t survive the cold winter or the dry summer.
What’s New?
Each spring, growers introduce many new plants. Some of them are truly superior, while others aren’t worth compost. Don’t get too caught up in the latest and greatest hype. Sample a few of the new plant selections and see what works in your garden, but don’t forget the tried and true heirloom or pass-along plants that have stood the test of time.
Be Smart
Don’t jump the gun and set out tender plants too early. Bedding plants, such as begonias or impatiens, and warm season vegetables, such as tomatoes or peppers, will turn to mush when exposed to freezing temperatures or frosty conditions. Remember Birmingham’s frost date isn’t until April 14th.  A few warm sunny days will get you excited, but be patient and enjoy the season.
Enjoy the Outdoors
Spend time in your yard. Feed the birds and listen to them sing. Watch them fly by with twig-filled beaks as they fashion neatly bundled nests. Clean the outdoor furniture, fire up the grill and dine alfresco before the mosquitoes multiply and become a nuisance. Start that garden project you’ve been thinking about or finish the one from last year. Investing in your landscape can increase the value of your home and working around your yard helps you stay limber and fit. Get outside, grow a garden and nurture plants, be healthy and feel good.

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