We welcome a new quarterly column, “Gardening through the Seasons,” by Edmonds Master Gardener Barbara Chase.
It is good to put February rain and gloom behind us and prepare for spring.
March has come and we are starting to experience the natural beauty which makes the Northwest a gardening paradise. I love the seasonal changes, which were not part of my early years.
As one walks at this time of year, the appearance of early trees like Star Magnolia and flowering plums and cherries can be dazzling. A tree-like shrub such as camellia “Donation” has appeared. Their blooming season is long and adds needed color.
Shrubs such as the early-blooming forsythia brighten the days. Pieris (Lily of the Valley) is another shrub that adds early color (white, pink and red) Viburnum davidii is a versatile, low growing evergreen. Viburnum tinus makes a great hedge.
It won’t be long until the many rhododendrons that thrive here begin to open. It would be a long list to name all the great rhododendrons but here are a few: Christmas Cheer, very light pink, which is blooming now. In late April and May, Mrs. Furnival — pink with a blotch, Nancy Evans — yellow, The Hon, and Jean Marie de Montague — an outstanding red, all add beauty.
There are many natives that thrive at this time of year. One of my favorites is Red Currant (ribes sanguineum), which has beautiful red or pink flowers that attract hummingbirds. Sword fern and mahonia nervosa are natives that make great ground covers.
As we enjoy the Northwest beauty, we know it is time to do needed chores. Pruning of roses in March is good. It is also a good time to fertilize roses and some camellias with acid fertilizer. Trim flowers from last year’s hydrangeas. But don’t touch rhododendrons until after they flower.
Dividing perennials thath bloom later, such as grasses and hostas, will give you more plants.
This is also a time to look for those invasive plants that are easy to remove in early spring. Don’t let ivy or blackberries or buttercup weeds get a start.
Remember, nobody has a “black thumb.” Choose well and you will enjoy your Northwest garden.
— By Barbara Chase
Barbara Chase became a Master Gardener when she moved to the area, and says she has learned a lot from leading theEdmonds in Bloom garden competition and the Edmonds Floretum Garden Club plant sale. The stream that goes down the edge of her garden has required natives to be planted — a good way to observe and learn about natives up close.