By Candy Venning

The wonderful thing about gardens is that they can be started anytime. We’re all so keen to get out there in the spring that we quite forget about the fact we have all season ahead of us, right up until October, to plant things.

If you’ve been gripped by the spring furies of gardening and are in full frenzy – may I suggest a few pots – pots of annuals, pots of perennials, pots of native plants – If your pots are big enough and you keep them watered – you can grow a whole garden this way.

Why am I telling you this when you’re practically bounding out the door with shovel in hand, ready to till or dig up ….something?

Before you dig something up, recall what was there before, is this where the Asters grow? or maybe the Asclepias hasn’t peeped out yet? Hold your horses, unless it’s an endlessly spreading clump of bland slug filled hostas – in that case, dig em up, divide em and give em away to the next person.

Also – if your budget is a little tight and you haven’t been buying up a spring storm’s worth of plants at the garden center – consider the annuals you could plant that will quickly grow to fill a sunny spot. (Especially great if you haven’t decided on the right shrub or perennials yet)

  1. Sunflowers – pop a seed right in the ground, for fun and to feed the birds – great for getting kids into gardening
  2. Arugula, Zucchini, Beans, (all easy from seed) Tomatoes from your local shop or a friend– all annuals of course and they don’t need to be in a designated box or raised bed – you can mix them into your garden!
  3. Aquilegia Canadensis (native) or other types of columbine (but the native variety is gorgeous and attracts hummingbirds) This should be blooming at the time you read this article and once finished in June-ish, ready to drop seed – so if you’ve managed to acquire some, scatter it about (or remember to grab seeds when they drop at Sunset Cultural Garden) and they’ll produce lovely leaves this year with showy flowers next year.

Not planting because your garden is full? Hahah! Just kidding, this never happens!

Not growing annuals because your garden is too shady? Then consider getting some well-rotted manure (that is sterile and not full of invasive weed seeds) to top up around your Oakleaf hydrangeas and ferns. Add your neighbours ‘cleaned up’ leaves plus little sticks and branches to break down into your soil slowly, imitating a forest floor.

Growing native plants? You don’t need to top up the manure but you could add a few trellises or obelisks/tuteurs to hold up the tall floppy plants and give a bit of structure to the yard. This is also a great time of year to redefine pathways with mulch, remove invasive species like Burning Bush, Barberry, Goutweed, Ivy and others.

So, my garden frenzied folk, will you be doing any of this or will you come home from the garden centre, pupils dilated and no plan for where anything goes nor much memory of buying it? Either way, it’s spring and you shouldn’t have to listen to anyone but the birds – enjoy!!