Spring is a time of renewal in the yard and garden, and that’s never been truer than this year. Whether you’re looking for a shrub to replace one damaged or killed this winter, want to plant something new and exciting to lift your spirits, or need help continuing to repair your lawn, here are some of my top suggestions for this month.
Each spring brings about the introductions of new plants to add to our landscapes, and this year is no exception. One of my favorite newer shrubs is Paloma Blanca euonymus, an ornamental evergreen shrub well-suited for pots or in the landscape. Like a dwarf boxwood, this shrub stays compact, growing just two and half feet tall and only two feet wide with glossy green leaves. Unlike a boxwood, though, Paloma Blanca puts on a beautiful show each spring with bright white new growth that slowly fades to dark green. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance, showy alternative to boxwood, Paloma Blanca is it!
A second plant I’m excited about this spring is a soft yellow miniature rhododendron called ‘Patty Bee.’ For small yards, many older varieties of rhododendron can easily overwhelm a flowerbed. ‘Patty Bee,’ though, grows to just two feet tall and wide with smaller, more numerous flowers than most rhodies, making it easy to confuse with a rhododendron’s smaller cousin, the azalea. Since evergreen azaleas only come in shades of pink, red and white, this miniature rhody may add a unique yellow color to a space otherwise suited for an azalea.
Third on my list for shrubs to plant this spring is a line of dwarf berries from Bushel & Berry. This new brand consists entirely of compact berries well-suited for pots on your deck or patio—although they work fine in the landscape, too! Jelly Bean is a miniature blueberry that grows to less than two feet tall and wide, Raspberry Shortcake tops out at three feet with no need for staking and Babycakes thornless blackberry reaches to just three to four feet, typically producing fruit twice each year. If you love the taste of fresh berries and enjoy watching things grow, check out Bushel & Berry plants at Vander Giessen Nursery this spring.
Finally, I would be remiss in not addressing your April lawn care projects. Last month, I wrote about dealing with moss in your lawns, and as you’ve started mowing, you’ve likely realized just how bad the moss is again this year. After you kill the moss with ferrous sulfate and fertilize the grass, the next step will be preventing grassy weeds, namely poa annua, or annual bluegrass. Crabgrass can be a problem in our area, but not until later in the summer as it needs warmer weather to grow. Poa, on the other hand, loves our temperate climate—especially mild, rainy weather—and can be identified as a light-green, fast-spreading grass with slightly wider blade than typical lawn grasses.
To prevent poa and crabgrass as well as kill recently-sprouted poa already in your lawn, now is the time to apply Bonide Crabgrass Plus. Based on my own experience dealing with poa in my lawn and the feedback I’ve heard from others who have used it, this product is the best one out there right now for battling grassy weeds. Pick up at bag of Crabgrass Plus at Vander Giessen’s and apply it now to enjoy a healthier lawn through summer and into autumn.
While the weather is still far from perfect, the sights of flowering cherry trees, daffodils, and tulips beginning to bloom signal that spring is here. Enjoy the new season and all that spring has to offer!