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Adventures in gardening: Getting started in spring

In my garden: yellow daffodils

In my garden: yellow daffodils

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    Suzanne Leonard
    Weather Broadcaster

    Friday, May 3, 2013, 11:38 AM -

    I love talking about weather. For 15 years I've been sharing weather stories with you - all the ways it affects how we live, work and relax. 

    As a self-described outdoor fanatic, I shared my love of gardening on "Suzanne’s Daily Dirt" segments. 

    Now, I’m excited to launch an online segment with The Weather Network’s new website, "Suzanne’s Adventures in Gardening."

    In my garden: white daffodils

    In my garden: white daffodils

    Let’s talk about gardens – I want to tell you about mine and I want to hear about your gardening experiences. I’ll tell you what I’m doing in my garden at the moment, sharing timely tips and ideas. I’ll tell you what I’ve learned – sometimes the hard way! – and share photos and videos. Gardening attracts people of all ages and occupations, despite the fact that Canadian weather and climate sometimes make this a challenging place to garden. Tell me your stories – share your triumphs and disasters, pass along your suggestions. Let’s take this gardening adventure together!

    Gardens suddenly spring forth from their winter wraps – where to begin?

    It may happen at very different times across the country but spring eventually returns. Slowly at first, and then more quickly our gardens shed their grey winter look and spring forth with surges of green and splashes of colour. After a long winter the spring season brings real joy to all. But for gardeners, it’s an especially busy time of year. There’s so much that needs attention, where to begin?

    Pruning is vital for strong, healthy plants, but many gardeners hesitate to cut or avoid it altogether. After all, we all know the saying, “It’ll grow back!” The key seems to be knowing when (which varies with different plants and shrubs) and how (the best approach.) That and a bit of courage, and you’re off!

    Pruning ornamental grasses 

    One year I left it too late, and by the time I pruned I ended up cutting both old and new growth. That created a “flat top” effect that stayed as the plant grew, not the look I was after! You need to cut down your ornamental grasses before the new growth starts. Have a look at the video. It’s the approach I find works best:

    • Tie a string around the plant to make clean up easier.
    • Use garden shears that are sharp and clean.
    • Cut down to about 3”, a little less than 10cm.
    • Use hand pruners to cut thicker stems.

    Early spring "to do list"

    • Tidy up the garden by removing winter debris (leaves, twigs).
    • Prune and cut down plants as needed (more on this next time).
    • Tidy up the lawn by raking up thatch.
    • Assess and make plans for what you want to do this season, once the weather allows.
    • Start indoor seeds, if you’re so inclined.
    • Enjoy the spring bulbs that are bursting into colourful blooms around your garden.

    Favourite Weather Network viewer photo

    This comes from Mary Ellen Vanzy from Chilliwack, BC, dated April 24. It's bursting with life and colour, a perfect spring moment - love it!

    I look forward to hearing your gardening stories and suggestions. You can add your comments below, upload your photos to our website, or tweet me an update and photo of your garden at @SuzanneTWN. Be sure to also join me on TV weekday afternoons and early evenings for the latest weather news and forecast.

    It’s May in Canada and the outdoors is beckoning, what are you waiting for? Happy gardening adventures!

    “Gardens are not made by singing 'Oh, how beautiful!' and sitting in the shade.”  ― Rudyard Kipling

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