Clip Off Dead Hydrangea Flowers
Make room for this season's hydrangea flowers. Remove the dead, dried, brown flower remnants from last fall. Just clip the dried stem above the first set of buds. Pruning any more could remove this summer's blooms.
Fertilize Roses, Spring Bulbs, Flowering Shrubs
Apply slow-release organic or granular mineral fertilizer (10-10-10) at the base of roses and shrubs, according to package directions. Sprinkle or shake nutrients on the soil, starting at the base and circling out one to two feet. Fertilize spring bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, crocus, camassia, and Spanish bluebells before they flower. Very gently work 10-10-10 soluble or granular bulb fertilizer into the soil. Water to start dissolving the fertilizer.
Prune roses when the forsythia blooms. That is, before they leaf out. Do your research before picking up the pruners, though. Pruning methods vary depending on rose type -- climbing, rambling, floribunda, English, grandiflora, groundcover, landscape, hybrid tea, species, modern, miniature, standard. Knowing your rose's name will help identify its type. Follow pruning instructions by the experts such as Lee Reich via CD or excellent books with clear pictures and images. I'm reluctant to bring an IPad or Notebook in the garden as a reference tool. Not so compatible with dirt, moisture, bugs.
Use Accumulated Leaves
Rake up clusters of leaves that collected during winter. I'm dumping wheelbarrows full on the last-used portion of my vegetable garden. They'll keep weeds at bay until I have time to plant tender summer veggies. Then I'll rake those decomposing leaves onto the garden paths.
Get Involved and Enjoy Others' Gardens
Does communing with like-minded plant lovers in North America's finest private gardens appeal? Consider volunteering to help local gardeners prepare their properties for The Gardens Conservancy 2011 Open Garden Days. Many gardens in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania (and across the country) participate, starting in early April. See http://www.gardenconservancy.org/ for more information. Feel free to email via Contact for volunteer opportunities.