Securing Vines and Canes
Make sure that the canes of your climbing roses and other vining plants are securely fastened to their supports. Winter winds can whip and severely damage unprotected plants. Don't tie them so tightly that the string or twist-tie cuts into the stem. I use a length of an old nylon stocking because it stretches as the plant grows and won't cut into the stem.
Prolonging Wisteria Bloom
I keep my wisteria blooming from May through September by cutting off as many of the faded flowers as I can reach after the first flush of bloom in the spring. A few weeks later I prune the new growth back, close to the spot where it bloomed earlier. Without long tendrils to sap its strength, the wisteria develops buds and blooms again.
When I use compost to supplement potting soil, sometimes sowbugs, earwigs, and tiny slugs will stowaway and hitch a ride. These little scavengers feed on decomposing plant material so they're great in the compost pile, but they multiply rapidly in a pot and will often nibble on my plants. I lure them at night with a cut potato wedge placed on the soil surface, brushing them off into the compost the next morning.
Recycle Grass Clippings
Decomposing grass clippings left on the lawn return valuable nutrients -- especially nitrogen -- to turf grass. Rake up grass clippings or bag them only when the grass has grown unusually tall between mowings and clumps of mown grass are left on the lawn. Compost those clippings.
Annual flowers need loving care during their early weeks of growth in the garden. If you pamper them now, you'll be rewarded with beautiful blooms during midsummer. Sprinkle a 10-10-10 fertilizer at a rate of 1 pound per 100-foot row. Apply it evenly around the plants and scratch it into the soil. Water regularly and thoroughly if spring rains are sparse.