Our weather has been one extreme to another lately. The recent heat has everyone scrambling to begin getting their gardens in shape. A word of caution, however, it was just tax time! Normally this time of year, the Tulips are barely blooming. Last year on March 23rd we had ten inches of snow and we could possibly get snow up until April 30th. For the weather obsessed (like us) you can research historical weather here, http://climate.rutgers.edu/stateclim/

Speaking of patience, the blooms are just about gone on those gorgeous Daffodils and many other bulbs, but please allow Mother Nature to do her work. The stems of the spent flowers can be cut off, but allow the green leaves to die back naturally. The bulbs are producing next year’s bloom and it takes about 5-6 weeks for the plant to produce enough food via photosynthesis for next year’s growth. The foliage can be removed once it turns completely yellow.

Keep in mind that the frost free date (and safe time to plant annuals) is typically around Mother’s Day in our area.

A new plant that is making a big scene for such unpredictable weather is Senetti. It can withstand a range of temperatures from 30-90 degrees and is part of the genus Pericallis which originated in Japan. The range of colors is from blue to purple to magenta. It prefers acidic soil and can be grown in light shade or full sun. In our region, it is not supposed to stick around much past June.

Things you should be looking for and doing right now on your property include:
• Note transplants and replacement shrubs and perennials.
• Move and relocate plants/shrubs that are too close together.
• It is safe to install new shrubs and ornamental grasses.
• Keep in mind that many lawns have a mix of fescue, Bluegrass and Rye which will not all come in at the same time. This may make your lawn appear yellow in some areas because one of them is still dormant. Be patient. They will green up by end of May/June.
• Take note of areas for reseeding but wait a week until after the application for crabgrass has been applied before over seeding. The same is true for sodding.
• Spray deer spray on Hostas, Lilies and other tempting perennials as now is the most intensive time for deer browsing.
• Plant bare roots Roses and other fruits such as berries now.
• Did you get your soil tested yet? Beat the rush by doing it now.
• Wait until after spring flowering shrubs such as Lilacs and Forsythia have bloomed, before pruning.

Earth Day is Sunday, April 22nd, which is a perfect time to spend at the Reeves-Reed Arboretum! They are planning many festivities for families, not to mention that the Daffodils are finishing their wonderful display – a show not be missed. Sunday, April 22nd, 1-4 pm, rain or shine. Reeves-Reed Arboretum, 165 Hobart Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901, 908-273-8787. http://www.reeves-reedarboretum.org/index.php
We would love to hear how you will celebrate Earth Day…maybe you could include a rain dance sometime that day also.