Gardens: Spring is coming, albeit a little slow

Kelowna garden columnist gives some tips on getting ready for the season

By Don Burnett

Do you know our days are now over two hours and 43 minutes longer that they were at their shortest on Dec. 22 and they are rapidly getting longer? By the end of March they will be another two hours longer.

Spring is just around the corner.

However right now we still have some snow on the ground; a little unusual for this time of the year and spring is a little slow coming. For those of you who would like a little gardening fix, the garden centres are gearing up for spring and now have lots of colourful primula, pansy and ranunculus plants at early spring pricing. These can be enjoyed indoors for a couple of weeks then safely put outside in pots and planters.

When the weather improves to the point that other less cold tolerant plants can be used, the aforementioned plants can be planted in the flower beds and the pots and planters re-planted with your favourite gems that will flower right through summer and into the fall. One of the pleasures many gardeners miss out on is incorporating perennial plants in their planter program. Hosta, Heuchera, Hellebore and ornamental grasses are just some of the cool plants coming in all shapes and colours which can take an ordinary annual planter to extraordinary.

And don’t be afraid to even use some woody plants such as dwarf conifers to add texture and interest. Remember all of these can be planted out in the garden when their time is up in your planters so keep this in mind when choosing them. Sometimes a perennial planter can be very useful and productive for more than one season and I’ve even seen them stretch into three seasons with a little adjustment here and there. Another advantage to this is we can get an early start to putting our planters in place well before the annual planting season is here.

Another way gardeners can get a good early spring fix is to attend a seminar or two which always gets the gardening blood flowing. The next seminar at Bylands Garden Centre is on March 10 at 1:30 p.m. I will be presenting Lawn Care and on March 17 at the same time a seminar on managing insects and disease in the garden. My final presentation will be March 24 on small fruits and berries for Okanagan gardens.

All of these sessions are free of charge and open to both homeowners and professional gardeners alike.

Listen to Don Burnett and Ken Salvail every Saturday Morning from 8 to 10 a.m. presenting the Garden Show on AM 1150 now in its 34th year.

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