Middle South

March, 2007
Regional Report

Add a Walkway

A new walkway can change the whole look of your yard. A gently meandering path flanked by a mix of low-growing shrubs and perennials lends an informal feel, inviting visitors to stop and admire. A straight path bordered by symmetrical, sheared hedges creates a more formal effect. Wherever your lawn is trampled from shortcuts, consider adding a walkway or stepping stones.

Make Daffodils-Only Bouquets

Who can resist cutting a few daffodils for indoor bouquets? Beware, though, of using the flowers in a mixed bouquet. Daffodil stems produce a substance that can damage other cut flowers, especially tulips. Better to make separate bouquets if you're graced with both types of flower in your gardens.

Use Shrubs as Buffers

Use evergreen shrubs and trees to dampen both wind and sound. On the north and west sides of the house -- or wherever your prevailing winds are from -- a dense planting can reduce indoor drafts and heating costs. If a busy road keeps you from enjoying a front room or porch, shrubs can provide a measure of privacy and reduce noise.

Divide Selected Perennials

In general, perennials are best divided in fall to give the roots time to get established before spring growth. However, if you start early, most will be fine with spring division. Divide or transplant as soon as the growing tips of the plant have emerged and replant immediately. Perennials need dividing when the flowers are smaller or sparser than usual, or when the centers of the clumps are starting to die out.

Plant Asparagus

Asparagus is usually planted as one-year old bare-root plants, called crowns. Choose the site carefully, since an asparagus is a perennial and a bed can remain productive for ten years or more. Select a spot in full sun with good drainage and enrich the soil with compost. The ferns will get tall so plant them on the north side of your vegetable garden so they don't shade other plants.

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