The sun still exists, it’s been shining for the better part of a week now, and we officially welcome SPRING today (March 20, is the Spring Equinox). So it’s okay to admit it if you have the “itch...” to get outside and plant something in the courtyard garden.
The good news is that you can do a lot of things right now to prepare your garden to look its best and produce the combination of vegetables and flowers that will keep you smiling all the way through Fall. But curb your enthusiasm just a bit, and refrain from buying those lovely, leggy tomatoes and bright blooming flowers you see at the big-box nurseries: we are still at risk for chilly nights that can damage those tender shoots beyond repair.
So, what can you do in mid-March when your green thumb is “itching” to get into the soil?
Attend the Atlanta Home Show this weekend (March 22–24) at the Cobb Galleria Center in Atlanta (2 Galleria Pkwy SE, Atlanta, GA 30339), where you can satisfy your desire to see the latest and greatest in outdoor (and indoor) décor ideas, including a talk from Walter Reeves on Sunday, March 24, at 1 pm. (In case you’re not familiar with him, Reeves is pretty much the Guru of the Atlanta gardening scene).
Stock Up at the Spring Native Plant Sale at the Chattahoochee Nature Center (9135 Willeo Rd, Roswell, GA 30075), Friday-Saturday, March 29–30 (10 am–5 pm). Experts will be on-hand to help you choose the right plants for your space, and they will provide tips to keep your plants healthy.
Visit SpringFest at Autumn Hill Nursery (4256 Earney Rd, Woodstock, GA 30188), on Saturday, March 30 (9am–4pm), where you’ll find an extensive variety of roses, fruit trees and shrubs (their blueberry bushes are divine!), and examples of outdoor garden “rooms” that will provide enough inspiration for years to come.
If you can’t control the urge to “do something” in your courtyard garden, try some of these preparation activities:
1. Check your soil. Purchase a soil test kit to see what amendments your soil needs, then add those before you add your plants.
2. Turn over your garden beds with a spade or garden fork, to loosen the soil. Then mix in some organic materials/compost to add nutrients your plants will need all summer.
3. Clean/sanitize last year’s flower pots. Rinse them with a good spray from the garden hose, then soak them in 1 part water/3 parts vinegar. Let sit for five minutes, then scrub stubborn debris and wipe clean. Allow pots to air-dry.
4. Prune shrubs before the growing season begins in earnest. Boxwoods are trimmed by creating “holes” in the foliage so that sunlight can reach the trunk. Roses can be pruned back to half their present size (now through the end of March). New growth will be healthy, and gift you with a plethora of summer blooms.
At Windsong, part of the draw of our homes and communities is our commitment to providing outdoor spaces that contribute to your lifestyle. Courtyards and porches are more inviting with plants that suit your tastes, so use this time to prepare and you’ll enjoy the rich rewards of a healthy garden for the next several months.
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