Garden Gnome: Gardeners have lots to do in March

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Everyone who would rather be out working in the garden, welcoming back plants from their winter nap, better pull on those work gloves.

March is one of the busiest months for gardening. Just in case you are not sure what needs tending to, here’s my to-do list:

If not finished yet, do it now:

• Mow down ratty-looking monkey grass.

• Clean beds of dead leaves and other dead plant materials and dispose of slugs and snails hiding in it.

• Add compost to beds and mulch.

• Clean out old mulch around rose bushes. Cut back, treat for disease and insects, fertilize and add fresh mulch.

• Plant more cool-season vegetables, such as lettuce and English peas.

• Treat lawn with pre-emergence herbicides but not post-emergence herbicides.

• Do not fertilize lawn until later in spring.

And add to that list:

• Prune overgrown shrubs (wait until after blooms finish on spring bloomers).

• Fertilize and mulch all plants.

• Add new plants.

• It is time to divide most perennials, to add plants to your own beds and share with friends.

• Cut back perennials before spring growth spurts.

• Treat for white flies now (and again in August) with a systemic pesticide or organic method such as a baking soda mixture; if you must use synthetic pesticide, do so late in the day after the bees retire.

• Remove faded blooms from bulbs but leave foliage to ripen.

• Prune back butterfly bushes to 1-2 feet high.

• Prune back beautyberry and blue spirea bushes to one-half desired summer height.

• Prune back clematis lightly if early bloomer or hard if summer bloomer, and prune other summer blooming vines.

Thanks to Sid Mullis’ Augusta Gardening Calendar, Walter Reeves and Erica Glasener’s Month-By-Month Gardening in Georgia, and Nancy J. Ondra’s The Perennial Care Manuel.

UPCOMING EVENTS

THE SEVENTH ANNUAL NORTH AUGUSTA CAMELLIA SHOW will be from noon until 5 p.m. Saturday at the Activities Center at Riverview Park in North Augusta.

The show is sponsored by the Aiken Camellia Society and open to the public. Anyone may enter blooms. Information on Camellia care and propagation will be available.

The schedule is:

7:30-10:30 a.m.: Bloom entry.

11 a.m.: Judging.

Noon: Show opens to public

1:30 p.m.: Roy Kibler, guest speaker, horticulturist for the City of North Augusta, Horticulture Activities in North Augusta.

AUGUSTA LOCALLY GROWN is holding a Grow Your Own Fair from 2 to 7 p.m.Tuesday on the grounds of the Augusta Jewish Community Center, 898 Weinberger Way, Evans. The free event is open to the public. A number of vendors who will be selling everything from organic berry bushes and vegetable seedlings to services for raised beds, smart watering and organic manures.

To participate, call Kim Hines (706) 288-7895. Please note that this is a chemical-free event.

THE RICHMOND AND COLUMBIA COUNTY 4-H CLUBS are conducting the annual Vidalia Onion fundraiser. Extension staffs and 4-H’ers will be selling onions through April. They come in 10-, 25-, and 50-pound bags. Cookbooks are also available. Reserve bags through 4-H members or your county Extension Office. Delivery is early May.

PAT LANZA, who wrote Lasagna Gardening, is the guest speaker at the annual luncheon of the Augusta Council of Garden Clubs beginning at 9:30 a.m. March 22. It is open to the public. Reservations can be made by emailing vallenotr@aol.com. Tickets purchased before March 16 are $25 and after that date are $30.


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