Digging in the Dirt: Spring Clean-up, March 2020

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This has been one of the warmest winters I can remember, but it is New England after all, and Mother Nature could still play a nasty April fool’s joke on us.

But for now, it’s time to take advantage of the balmy days. Here are some gardening chores to get you ready for Spring.

Essential Spring Prep
Sharpen your tools and organize the shed. Start cleaning up garden beds.

Get Out the Pruning Shears
Most trees and shrubs do best when pruned in late winter. However, spring blooming species like azalea, forsythia, and lilac should be pruned once they finish flowering in the spring.

For the Impatient Gardener
Can’t wait for bloom time? You can force branches to bloom inside. Prune branches of pussy willow, forsythia, and other early bloomers and put them in a vase of water. You should see flowers in a few weeks.

Garden Design
Start planning a new garden bed or think about renovations to your existing garden.  Maybe look around the neighborhood and see what plants have nice winter interest, then figure out what they are and plan to get them when the weather is warmer. Buy summer blooming bulbs.

If you are contemplating a new shrub this year, consider one of my favorite flowering shrubs, Ruby Spice Clethra Alnifolia (Summersweet)

Image (c) Stacy Neal all rights reserved

Summersweet Ruby Spice Clethra Alnifolia


This aromatic shrub should be planted near a patio or deck. It has the most incredible smell. The flowers are pink, long-lasting, and bloom mid- to late-summer. It’s extremely hardy and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.

Happy gardening!!!


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