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by John S S Slater

This article is about Southern Spring Lawn Care, but first I want to talk about my garden. I hope you don’t mind.

Something weird is going on in my garden. My plants are coming up in the strangest order or not at all.  I have four types of daffodils in my flower beds, usually by this time all of them have popped through the dirt and are in different stages of blooming.  However, only one type has come and the flowers are already dying. None of the others have made any appearance. What happened to the rest of them, I have no idea. Nor do I know what happened to my tulips. Where are my tulips? I have been stressing over these questions for the past two weeks. What did I do wrong? Why has my garden forsaken me?

Then I took a ride around my neighborhood and noticed almost no one’s spring bulbs have come up. The red tulip bed I so envy two blocks down, that stand out so beautifully against their gray gravel base, isn’t there. The house to the right when you enter my neighbor looks so bare without the cascading bed of Pipit Daffodils to greet you. I feel bad for saying this, but I’m glad it’s not just me.

The only thing I can think of that is different this spring from all the other springs is the 1000 Year Flood we had back in October. Even after ‘the flood’ ended we kept having rain for the rest of the month. When it stopped raining it was still another week before the yard wasn’t so muddy you sank when you walked on it. Maybe all the bulbs rotted in the ground. Not everything is missing. The verbena and begonias are flowering like crazy, but the alliums should have bloomed first, yet they have barely begun to come in.

Now to the subject of this article, Southern Spring Lawn Care.

Even though we in the south aren’t sitting around waiting for the snow to melt or the last frost to come and go, we still need to repair winter damage to our lawns and prepare for the months to come.

The first thing I do is walk my property and make a list of things to be replaced or mended. This year I had to get rid of one of my favorite flowerpots and patch up the patio.

You can do the spring chores in any order that makes sense to you.

I start by removing any winter coverage I put in my garden for its protection.

To me weeding is the worst of all the chores, but I see a great return for the time invested when my flowerbeds look neater.

While weeding I check to see what bushes might need to be replaced.

Now is the time to cut back last season’s dead plant material, encouraging new growth.

Transplant any bushes or plants that you think might do, or look, better somewhere else. You always want to do that before it gets a chance to leave out.

I rake the lawn getting up any stray leaves and twigs that have gathered. Then I spread grass seeds in any bare spots I find. IMG_0232

Then I go to the store, pick up some weed and feed and my first load of mulch. And of course annuals and perennials – I never have enough growing in my garden.

Usually I end my first hard day of gardening by turning on the sprinkler system and firing up the charcoal grill. However, a bird has made a nest in my grill and three little babies haven’t flown the coup yet.  I will have to go with the gas grill until the family moves out.