Spring has caught us by surprise here in coastal Virginia. Which means it’s time to spruce up the yard and start thinking out our summer garden plans. Winter was quite a mild and therefore, the yard and flowerbeds are already bursting forth earlier than expected. Put it this way, the Carolina Jessamine vines were blooming at Christmas and I had daffodils blooming in early February. Crazy!
Control the Climbers
I adore climbing, flowering vines. Most are easy to grow and add such a beautiful texture to any garden design. But sometimes they have a tendency to misbehave and get a bit unruly. With our mild winter, the Carolina Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) has absolutely gone out of control! This next week I’ll be showing how to trim it back and give tips for vine maintenance.
I will be using my favorite hand held pruner for the job. It is my Troybilt Comfort Max Bypass Pruner. I use this pruner so much, I can not even tell you. My tool chest is full of rusty old pruners, but this one has held up beautifully beyond all the rest! (It has its special storing place in my kitchen drawers… not in my garage. Yes, that is how much I love it).
The second climber that needs attention is the clematis. This clematis used to do beautifully, but the River Birch in front of it has grown so rapidly that is no longer receives the sunlight it needs. The best choice is to move it to a new location where it will receive a plethora of sunshine.
Cutting Back the Bushes
The next project will be cutting back the bushes. We have two very large and overgrown forsythia bushes. They are in full bloom currently and as soon as the blooms fade I will prune back the branches. There is a specific way to prune forsythia and I’ll be showing you how to do that in an upcoming post and I’ll be using larger bypass lopper for that job. So stay tuned!
What I should have done in February or March was to trim back all the knock-out rose bushes, which is when you normally cut roses back. We have 7 very large, deep pink knock-out rose bushes and 3 light pink Knock-outs. Because of the mild winter, the rose foliage never died back. And now they are starting to bloom! I’m late to the game in tending them.
They will be in full bloom on or before Mother’s Day so I guess I will just have to wait to prune them back a bit until after their first flush of blooms or I will do it this week. The beauty of Knock-outs is that, unlike other roses, you can cut these back without too much risk to hurting the plant.
Adding New Annuals & Perennials
This year we will be adding a few new annuals, but especially new perennials to the front flower beds. One of my favorite perennials is Homestead Verbena. It thrives in our hot summers, needs little care and has such a vibrant purple color.
Most of the new annuals will be in pots on our back deck and surrounding the brick patio.
Summer Garden Plans
The largest project we will hopefully be tackling is a new vegetable garden. It’s been two years since we’ve had one. This time I hope to have a larger garden than we’ve had in the past.
I have a brand new amazing tiller from Troybilt which I will giving a product review on. This tiller breaks up the ground so beautifully. It will exciting to have fresh veggies straight from the back yard once again! Our last garden produced massive artichokes, which our family loves, especially grilled artichokes!
I’m still planning out the design and considering building a raised garden bed. Raised garden beds can be quite beautiful and easier to take care of. Isn’t this one lovely?
As one of Troy-bilt’s Saturday 6 bloggers, I had the opportunity to travel to Austin, Texas earlier this spring and partnered with Planet In Action. We worked together to revitalize the community gardens at the Travis County Parks in Austin, Texas. We helped till, cultivate, plant and mulch 8 plots to be designed as “Edible Landscapes” for park visitor. In the trellis area, we planted grapes and raspberries and in the orchard area we planted peach, apple and pear trees. It was a great day getting down and dirty for a great cause in Texas!
Now it’s time to get to roll up my sleeves, put on the sunscreen and gloves and get to work! Do you have any summer garden plans? I’d love to hear about them!
Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Troy-bilt. All opinions and expressions are my own.