Middle South

April, 2007
Regional Report

Divide Perennial Herbs

Spring is a good time to divide clumping or spreading perennial herbs, including mint, chives, tarragon, thyme, and oregano. Use a sharp shovel to slice off a portion of the rootball and replant. Or dig up the entire plant, cut it into pieces, and replant. Each piece should contain both roots and shoots.

Grow Mint in Containers

Mint and mint family plants, such as lemon balm, are rampant growers and can become invasive. Place plants in pots to keep them contained. You can bury the pot up to the rim in the garden if you like, but keep an eye out for and prune back vines that escape the confines of the pot.

Landscape for Hummingbirds

Plant a variety of trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, and annuals with nectar-rich flowers to attract hummingbirds to your garden all season long. Good choices include red buckeye, azaleas, weigelas, cypress vines, monarda, agastache, columbines, sage, liatris, penstemons, fuchsias, and petunias. Add a feeder or two, but be sure to clean them every few days.

Make Watering Convenient

Invest in a quality nozzle for your hose, preferably one that allows you to choose a range of spray patterns. Use the shower setting for watering plants and the jet for power-washing empty containers before reusing them. A separate shut-off valve is handy for letting you turn the water off at the hose so you can move the nozzle to another hose and it allows you to set the water to a trickle to provide a slow and steady watering to trees and shrubs. Make watering easy and you're more likely to do it.

Prune Flower Stalks on Daffodils and Tulips

You can safely remove faded flowers from spring bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, by cutting the flower stalk back to the ground. However, leave the foliage intact, since the plants need it to build up food reserves in preparation for next year's blooms. Hide unsightly yellowing foliage by planting perennials or annuals in the bed, taking care not to disturb the bulbs.

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