Mid-Atlantic

May, 2010
Regional Report

Enjoy Public Gardens Day. May 7.

This Friday, May 7, is the Second Annual National Public Gardens Day. Events are planned at 10 notable public gardens across the nation. In the Mid-Atlantic region, celebrations are scheduled at United States Botanic Garden on the Mall, 100 Maryland Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20001 (202-225-8333); The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, 100 E. Northwestern Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19118 (215-247-5777); and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 900 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225 (718-623-7200).

Build and Fill Your Raised Beds

Take time now to measure, research, and order new raised beds for vegetable gardens, ornamental gardens, and/or cut flower gardens. Pre-made raised beds may be on back order (perhaps because veggie gardening is on the upswing?). It may take 2 to 4 weeks between the day you order and when the raised bed materials are delivered.

Clip Dead Branches from Hydrangeas

Prune hydrangeas very judiciously ... or you may clip off stems that hold potential flowers in their tips. My theory: if you're not sure if your hydrangea blooms on new AND old wood, remove ONLY dead stems. Dead stems snap when you break them. Removing them makes room for new growth. I clip them off at the shrub's base. Look carefully inside the cut stem to make sure it's tan or brown - not living green.

Stretch, Reach, Take It Easy

Ease into spring gardening. Warm up to the task by stretching gently - arms above head, shoulders back, fingertips to toes, torso twist at the waist. Treat your muscles and joints kindly. Alternate tasks every 10, 15 minutes - using different postures. For example, weeding is usually a "stoop and tug" project. Cultivating soil with a long-handled hoe is done standing. Switching from one posture/task to another gives our bodies the opportunity to rebalance and restore.

Eliminate Invasive Plant Species

Remove invasive plant species - lesser celandine, goutweed, garlic mustard, tree-of-heaven, Japanese honeysuckle, Japanese knotweed, mile-a-minute weed, star-of-Bethlehem, cheatgrass, Japanese stilt grass - BEFORE they get a roothold or go to seed and spread on your property and onto your neighbors'. For more info about identifying and controlling invasives in your area, see http://www.usna.usda.gov/Gardens/invasives.html.

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