Late April means it’s time for garden additions

The last week of April is a the time to start feeding your vegetables, roses and flower beds because plants that you want to produce need energy now. Liquid plant foods work the fastest, but don’t last as long in the soil.

  • Wednesday, April 30, 2008 12:00am
  • Opinion

LEFT: Dogwood trees can be found in blossom this time of year

The last week of April is a the time to start feeding your vegetables, roses and flower beds because plants that you want to produce need energy now. Liquid plant foods work the fastest, but don’t last as long in the soil.

Slow-release and organic plant foods like blood meal or alfalfa pellets (rabbit food) give plants a lower and slower dose of nitrogen, but continue to feed plants over an extended time.

This also is a good time to add more perennials, groundcovers and climbing vines to the garden.

Buy wisteria and clematis vines now while they are in full bloom so you can see what the blooms will look like and to be sure that you are purchasing a plant old enough to flower. A big reason for wisteria hysteria when this vine doesn’t bloom is because it is not fully mature.

The end of April is also the season for buying blooming trees. Dogwoods, flowering cherries, magnolias and crabapples all will be blooming at the nursery and it is quite okay to take trees home now and plant while still in flower.

Q. I have a shaded area on the north side of my house. I have removed all the overgrown junipers and cut back some overgrown rhododendrons. Now I want to add some flowering plants that will come back each year. What do you recommend? S.S., Orting

A. Congratulations on ripping out the overgrown and overused.

Plants are not children and when they get too big or misbehave you can get rid of them. Plants that come back year after year are called perennials and my favorites for the shade are bleeding heart, brunnera, hellebores or Lenten rose, coredalis, and the colorful foliage of heucheras.

You can research each of these plants to see if you like them or just visit a nursery, head for the perennial section and check out the plant names. By mixing leaf shapes, blooming times and growing heights you’ll have it made in the shade with an easy-care flower garden.

Q. Please recommend a flowering vine that I can grow in a container. I had a pink clematis in our old house that bloomed each spring, but it become so large we had to cut it down. I want a vine that stays under control.

P.S., Renton

A. Consider the container clematis from a grower named Raymond Everson if you want a well-behaved clematis. These reblooming vines have huge flowers and come in different colors with names like Cézanne and Monet.

You can even grow them as hanging baskets because the more you prune them, the more flowers you get. Another flowering vine is the Thunbergia or Black-eyed-Susan vine. This is an annual that will die in the winter but these summer bloomers will climb up a tee pee of poles in a pot to create wonderful blooming towers of flowers.

Q. I forgot to prune my roses. Now they have lots of foliage and are growing new buds but are very tall. What should I do? Prune off all this great new growth or just let them go?

D.T., Puyallup

A. To prune or not to prune: that is the question that only you can answer.

Roses do not need to be pruned for their general good health, so if you decide to enjoy super-sized roses this summer, don’t feel like they will be enduring extra pain and suffering. Many of the new shrub roses and landscape roses have been bred with a bushy habit so that they don’t even need regular pruning. But if you’re short and the roses are tall, you might want to get tough and prune back the top one third of your rose bushes now, even though you’ll be cutting off lots of new growth.

After the initial shock and awe your rose plants will adjust to the indignity and still be blooming by June.

Send questions for Marianne Binetti to P.O. Box 872, Enumclaw, WA 98022. For a personal reply, enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Her e-mail address is mariannebinetti@comcast.net.

More in Opinion

Their I-940 made the ballot, but not the version they prefer | Editorial

A much-divided state Supreme Court blew up an unusual compromise when it… Continue reading

Why do we ignore the Sammamish River Trail? | Letter

Why do we ignore the Sammamish River Trail? The Sammamish River is… Continue reading

Rumbling and rambling on the way to November | The Petri Dish

Republicans have to worry about Trump. Meanwhile, big money is flowing into initiative campaigns.

The default in our own stories | Editorial

Senior editor Samantha Pak reflects on what representation in media means to her.

No excuse for fake news rhetoric | Editorial

Journalists are being tossed into the anti-media waters being chummed by President Trump and others.

Pak headshot
Freedom to feel safe | Reporter’s Desk

Let’s not forget that July 4 is a day that celebrates the freedoms we have in this country.

State Dems may abandon caucus chaos in time for 2020

Washington also is considering becoming more significant by moving its primary to early March.

Signature of registered voter is a coveted commodity

The competitive nature of the initiative and referendum season now peaking in Washington.

Photo by Matt Phelps
President, governor or retirement — only Inslee knows his plan

What we do know is that he’s off to Iowa in June to deliver the keynote address at a party fundraiser.

It’s time to make Western Washington coal-free | Guest Column

For Washington to be a true climate leader, PSE needs to get out of the coal business.

MIchelle Metzler
Cleaning up the complex | Guest Column

Solving the multifamily recycling puzzle.

Reporter Raechel Dawson says farewell to journalism career

Eastside journalist moves on after six years in field.