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IN THE GARDEN: Spring has sprung

Brighten your garden with bougainvillea. Keep reading for other planting ideas this spring. iStock image

New mesquite green is bursting. Painted buntings and scissor-tailed flycatchers are arriving. Seniors are counting the days until high school graduation. Spring has sprung.

What you should and shouldn't do right now

  • Some plants and trees are making slow recoveries from the harsh winter storms. Established trees and plants have a large portion of their system under the soil. Use the thumbnail test to see if your plant is simply taking its sweet time before you yank the whole plant and toss it. Many yuccas are alive but not showing visible signs. These you can trim way back and give them time. We understand waiting is hard, but patience is key in our plant’s recovery from the storms.
  • Feed and mulch! This time, we don’t need to water. The goal is 1 inch of water a week for trees.
  • Due to the crazy weather we’ve had this winter and spring, many of our pollinators are without the abundance of food to which they are accustomed. Please keep your bird feeders and watering holes full.
  • We can plant, plant, plant! Plant bright warm colors: allamanda, bougainvillea, hibiscus, mandevilla, and penta. Plant warm seasonals: begonias, caladiums, cosmos, impatiens, lantana, periwinkle, and zinnias. Also, plant any and all herbs as well as hot weather vegetables.
  • Plant perennials for summer and fall, including columbine, coreopsis, fall aster, firebrush, geraniums, plumbago, rock rose, sage, shrimp plant, and verbena.
  • To take care of itchy nuisances such as fleas and ticks, our working soldiers, the beneficial nematodes, come to the rescue. For chiggers, apply elemental sulfur at 4 pounds per 1,000 square feet. When the ground is dry, you can apply diatomaceous earth for ants, fleas, and roaches. Diatomaceous earth can be found at your local nursery and hardware stores.
  • Double check bird feeders for seeds that might be stuck at the bottom. With the rain we’ve been having, seeds can get stuck in the crevices of feeders and mold.
  • Thin the peaches on your trees. Remove bunches that are at the end of a thin limb, the ones that resemble a bunch of grapes. The bunch of peach grapes could become too heavy for the limb, and, since they are so close together, the fruit will not have ample opportunity to evenly ripen. Thin your peaches so there's a hand's breadth between peaches for yummy results.

What is hail?

Hail is not frozen raindrops. According to National Geographic, "Frozen rain falls as water and freezes as it nears the ground. Hail actually falls as a solid. Hailstones are formed by layers of water attaching and freezing in a large cloud." You can read more about hail at the link.

Till next time. Keep your souls and soles in your garden!

Remember the True Master Gardener: Jesus said, “I am the vine; my Father is the Gardener.” John 15:1

"In the Garden" is written by daughter-father gardening duo Martelle and Bill Luedecke. Contact Martelle at 512-769-3179 or Contact Bill at 512-577-1463 or

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