Mid-Atlantic

April, 2001
Regional Report

Site the Cold Frame


An unheated cold frame protects tender plants from frost and wind while they acclimate to the outdoors. The proper location for a cold frame is facing south to maximize sunlight. Site the cold frame in a place away from the wind but near a water supply. Consider using a cold frame with automatic venting to prevent heat buildup on sunny days when you're not home to open the vents manually.

Install Peony Rings

To help peonies stand upright when they\'re heavy with blooms later this spring, position a wire mesh support called a peony ring in place now as they begin to grow. This grow-through support will be virtually invisible by bloom time yet provides steady, even support to the plants all season.

Plant a Living Fence


A hedge is a living fence and visual block. Hedges can be clipped for a formal look or left untrimmed, depending on the style and size of barrier you prefer. For sheared hedge plants, try privet and yew. For a more natural effect, grow hedge plants such as forsythia, spirea, and burning bush.

Jump-Start Cannas

Stored canna rhizomes may be sprouting now. Start them in pots indoors to get a jump on the season. Plant the rhizome horizontally so that the top (the side with pointy growth tips) is about an inch beneath the soil surface. Place the pot in a warm, very bright location and keep the soil barely moist. Once growth begins, fertilize occasionally with a water-soluble fertilizer and provide as much sun as possible. Plant outside after all danger of frost.

Provide Light to Seedlings


As soon as seeds germinate, move seedlings into very bright light. It's best to provide supplemental lights to keep the plants healthy and stocky. Adjust the distance between the light fixture and the foliage as necessary to keep the plants within 1 to 2 inches of the bulbs.

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