Gardening Matters

Flowering quince, Star magnolia, Daffodils, Maple and Oak trees budding, Hyacinths, Plum trees in bloom, Forsythia, Pansies, Crocus, Bradford pears, Cherry and Crabapple trees, Camila, Hydrangeas budding, Japanese maples budding, lots of birds he-ing and she-ing and a few sad looking dead things that didn’t survive our freezing February.

These are what I have seen just in my own neighborhood during the past few days at this tail end of winter. While we are still dancing between frost and warm weather, somehow our plants manage to find a way to bloom again as they have for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. I sure do love this time of year.

Now, if you want to jump start yourself into spring, the Spring Plant Sale is now going on at the Dunwoody Nature Center. This year we are diverging from our usual selections and are offering plants for container gardening.

The Master Gardeners at the Dunwoody Nature Center have put together eleven “recipes” or plans for beautiful container displays suitable for sun, partial shade and shade conditions in our region. Each “recipe” includes all the plants you need (typically 8-16 plants) to make spectacular container gardens for porch, patio or as a great gift. Instructions for creating your container garden are included. (You will need to supply your own 15-18 inch container.)

They are also offering decorative sculptures of birds, animal figurines and flowers for sale. These charming one-of-a-kind pieces are designed and made by artist Jan Steger of Suwannee. There are a limited number of these available to purchase when you pick up your container garden plants.

The plant sale offerings and figurines can be seen on the Dunwoody Nature Center’s website ( You can also make payment by credit card at that site. The sale is now in progress and will take orders until April 4t. Plants will be available for pick-up at the Nature Center on April 17-18.

You really won’t want to miss this year’s offerings. The proceeds from the Plant Sale benefit the Dunwoody Nature Center’s programs for children and families to help us all learn more about the wonders of nature that surround us here in Dunwoody.

Finally, a number of people have asked me about what to do with plants damaged from the freezing weather back in February.

Don’t give up yet!

While some tender plants will die because of the harsh conditions, most will survive.

If you have some dead leaves or branches on an otherwise living plant, simply remove the obviously dead material and let the plant generate new growth.

If the plant looks like it may be totally dead, try cutting it back to no more than one half its current size and see if the roots can generate new growth.

If the plant does not show some recovery by mid-May you can pronounce it DOA and find a replacement. Some of my own hydrangeas that looked pretty dead to me are already sending out new growth. And my Lamb’s ears and irises have new leaves popping up between the awful looking dead stems that I haven’t removed yet.

This is not the first time that most of our plants have been through a serious freeze and they will usually survive. We can encourage new growth by judicious trimming and a gentle dose of fertilizer.

So enjoy the coming warmer weather, check out the Dunwoody Nature Center’s Plant Sale and get to work cleaning up your garden from the winter’s damage. It’s going to be another glorious spring.

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