Southern Coasts

March, 2004
Regional Report

Plant Out Potted Bulbs

Pots of tulips make lovely gifts at Valentine's, and decent compost now. Their chances of rebloom are slim, but pots of narcissus, daffodils, and hyacinths will usually naturalize in the garden. Cut old flower stems down entirely, and trim the leaves back by half, then plant outside. Fertilize in June.

Compost Flowering Brassicas

It's the end of the line for ornamental cabbage and kale when their center suddenly rises up and bursts into bloom with a stalk of yellow flowers. The same goes for their edible relatives of the brassica family -- broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard, and collards. Remove them all to the compost pile.

Contain Certain Herbs

Hands down, the best herbs for growing in the garden are standard rosemary and basil, though their trailing and dwarf forms can be contained. Parsley and chives can go either way, but for thyme and sage, use clay pots. The leaves stay cleaner, and the plants don\'t get blown over and damaged as easily from thunderstorms.

Give Evergreens a Haircut

New growth is popping everywhere, and unpruned evergreen shrubs may need attention. Prune them to stimulate thicker growth, rejuvenate overgrown or spindly shrubs, compensate for old injuries or uneven growth, keep them in proportion to other plants and structures, and remove dead or diseased branches.

Planting Under Pines

The dappled shade of pine trees can be challenging for those who want flowers. Consider removing lower limbs up to 6 feet above the ground or removing one or more of a grove to let in more sunlight. Amend the native soil with compost, and choose flowering plants labeled "part shade."

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