How To Care For Your Garden Through The Seasons

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Text by Kaitlin Madden

Spring might seem like the most logical point on the calendar to start planning your garden, but for true green thumbs, gardening is a year-round passion and pursuit.

“Maintenance is an ongoing process, especially after your gardens have been established for a few years or if you want a garden that evolves with the seasons,” says Heather Lashbrook Jones, managing partner at the Sudbury, Mass.-based landscape firm a Blade of Grass. While she considers summer to be the firm’s busiest season (“That’s when we do a lot of weekly or bi-weekly maintenance,” she says), she notes that a Blade of Grass visits many client properties regularly from April through December.

Interested in creating a garden that thrives year ‘round? We tapped Lashbrook Jones to share the maintenance tasks and preservation tips that’ll keep your garden growing every season.

Spring Garden Maintenance

Start fresh.
Give spring flowers a fresh start with a clean yard. In addition to removing any leaves and branches that might have come down during the winter, “When you open the garden in the spring, you want to check for plants that may have damage, or things that are dead, and trim back any perennials that didn’t get cut down in the fall,” Lashbrook Jones says.

Add fertilizer and compost.
“For trees, shrubs, and existing plantings, we usually fertilize in the spring,” the pro tells us. Planters and annuals, on the other hand, should be fertilized once or twice a month.

Plant annuals.
In the early months of spring, fill in bulbs and flowering bushes with cooler-weather annuals like pansies and violas. Come May, it’s time to think about late spring and early summer plantings. “This is when we like to add annuals like impatiens, begonias, and dahlias since they create a pop of color for the whole summer,” Lashbrook Jones says.

Water new plantings.
New plantings will need daily watering sessions for the first week and regular weekly waterings after that. “When you first install a garden you need to water it really well for it to thrive.”.

Turn on the irrigation system.
While you won’t need to water most of your garden regularly for a few more months, now is the time to test your irrigation system. “It’s a good idea to make sure everything works properly so it’s ready to go once the summer heat sets in.”

Summer Garden Maintenance

Prune flowering bushes.
“Summer is the time to prune the spring bushes that have already flowered, like lilacs and rhododendrons, as well as anything that has gone through the springtime growth flush,” Lashbrook Jones says.

Care for roses.
While a Blade of Grass suggests fertilizing roses through the summer months, they’ll need regular pruning and deadheading through the season.

Water the right way.
Now that the heat is here to stay, it’s time to water your garden regularly. But there’s more to the process than simply turning the irrigation system on and letting it run. “Longer, less frequent waterings are most effective, since shorter, frequent ones keep the roots shallower,” Lashbrook Jones cautions. While the exact amount of water your garden needs will depend on the types of plantings, the soil, and the weather, she says.

Fall Garden Maintenance

Cut back fading plantings.
Once again, the best way to prep your fall garden for a beautiful bloom is to clear out anything that’s no longer in season. “In early fall, we start to cut some things down so annuals and flowers can show through.”

Add seasonal varieties.
Late September through early October is prime time for planting fall annuals. Some of Lashbrook Jones’s go-tos for filling out fall planters: asters, grasses and ornamental kale.

Think spring.
Fall is the time to start thinking about those first signs of spring. Lashbrook Jones advises planting popular spring bulbs like tulips and daffodils in late October or early November.

Winter Garden Maintenance

Protect trees and shrubs.
Evergreen bushes, pine trees, and holly can add life to the landscape even in the dead of winter, so make sure to preserve them. “We will often spray the leaves of holly or boxwoods with an anti-desiccant to keep the leaves from drying out. It gives them an extra layer of protection to lock in the moisture. It’s also a good idea to wrap shrubs with twine to prevent damage from the weight of heavy snow.”

Create interest with planters.
“Seasonal planters with birch logs and winter greens are really nice to look at during the holidays and beyond,” says Lashbrook Jones, noting that a Blade of Grass clients will often keep winter planters on display through early March.

Consider structure.
Winter is a good time to evaluate the structure and design of your garden, since most of the flowers and foliage will be cleared out. “A thoughtful garden design will ensure it looks good year round. In the winter, even simple interest like a retaining wall or red twig dogwood branches can be enough to make it look really great.”

Finding all the maintenance a bit daunting? Let the team at a Blade of Grass help with their landscape maintenance services.

a Blade of Grass is an award-winning landscape design, installation, and maintenance firm.

a Blade of Grass
(508) 358-4500
abladeofgrass.com

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