Let's Get Ready for Spring!

Clean Up/Repair

Begin removing any loose leaves and debris from the crowns of perennials and from within shrubs. Snowmelt and spring rains can cause this detritus to get sodden and can cause rot and disease problems. If rains and flooding had shifted your wood based mulch to cover perennials deeply or piled it against the trunks of trees and shrubs pull it back.

Cut back any dead stems from last year still remaining on your perennials. If you see small green sprouts at the soil line on herbaceous perennials congratulations-they survived the winter! If you’re not sure, give the crown area a good poke with your fingers. Live plants, even if they haven’t begun sprouting, will be firm. Dead plants will often collapse in a spongy mess.

Pansies suffered this winter and if yours survived they are probably looking pretty tired. Pinch off all brown leaves and stems-there should be new growth starting to show at the base of the plant if they survived.  Fertilize and apply deer repellant and slug bait if needed. Warm days will bring flowers-we promise!

Check the supports on any staked roses, vines or trellises you have, especially those supporting heavier items, and replace or reinforce as needed. Depending on the material and dampness of the soil, supports can rot in the soil in as little as a year. Even most metal stakes will degrade in a few years in the moist soil environment. Check that ties have not become too tight.

 Prune any winter damage out of trees and shrubs, and get your late winter pruning done on roses, buddleia, boxwood, vitex, crape myrtles and other late-season bloomers.

Cut back your ornamental grasses if you haven’t yet.

Pull any cool season weeds that appeared in your beds, or use an herbicide that works well at lower temperatures (down to 45F). Non-selective herbicides like Roundup work very slowly when it’s cool. Make a note to apply pre-emergent herbicides next fall if your cool season weeds are extensive-you’ll have fewer weed problems next spring.

To get timing right for crabgrass control, put down pre-emergent herbicides for the lawn before forsythia flowers drop.


Did the winter kill any existing plants, leaving holes in your landscape you need to fill? Or did it damage any plants badly enough that, though alive, it’s best to replace them?

Did any tree branches (or whole trees…) come down this winter that will change your garden’s sun exposure? Some shade loving plants tolerate more sun well; others may need to be transplanted to a more suitable location.   

Do any other perennials or shrubs need to be relocated to for more space? Check to see if anything has become overgrown in its location and needs to be moved or divided.

Older perennials will often begin to die out in the center as they grow outward, leaving a ring-shaped plant. This is a sign that the plant needs to be divided. Dig up, remove the dead/weak areas, and replant smaller pieces to regrow (see Transplanting Perennials, Oct 2013) Note:  Although they are very likely to grow like this, don’t transplant/divide iris in spring. Wait until after they bloom to divide.

Don’t be too hasty to give up on seemingly slow growing plants installed in the last year or two if they are otherwise in a suitable location. Remember the old adage “Year one, sleep; year two, creep; year three, leap!”


Don’t work your soil while it is still soggy from rain or snowmelt. You can cause compaction that can affect plant growth, or create hard-to-get-rid-of clods. Here’s how to tell if your soil is ready: form a small ball of soil in your hand and drop from waist height onto the ground. If it doesn’t break up at all or breaks into a few large pieces, it’s not ready. If it crumbles into smaller pieces you’re good to go.

Adding organic material to the soil every spring by topdressing with good quality organic compost or manure will improve soil structure incrementally year after year.

If they need it, fertilize trees and shrubs in early spring at the rate the package recommends. How can you tell if they need it? If in the previous year leaf size and blooming was reduced, leaf color was off, or new growth was less than expected, or if the plant is fairly young you may want to fertilize. However, over-application of fertilizer, or fertilizer applied when not needed results in excess growth that may give you more pruning to do later in the season.

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An Abelia Pruning Trick           

Abelias are a popular, versatile landscape shrub. They are also really easy to prune, needing only to be cut back to a dome or globe shape in late winter. There is no need to be overly careful about where you place your pruning cuts-just shape and go. But there’s one final trick you can use when pruning abelias that will let them keep the uniform shape longer even after they begin growing. Garden Enhancement Team manager Katie Cardille shows you in this short video.

New Garden introduces a new Interior Design service:

New Garden Interiors

Like many people, you've probably longed for a living space that could grace the pages of a home design magazine. Or maybe you collect Pins on a Pinterest board devoted to home décor, dreaming of a time you’d be able to put it all together. If this describes you, New Garden is introducing a brand new service you’ll want to know about.

If you shop our Gazebo location you've probably noticed that over the past few years the selection of indoor home décor and furniture has increased. That increase is thanks to our talented designer Luke Sumpter, who has been with New Garden since 2008. Luke and his exceptional team are also responsible for the spectacular Christmas displays at the Gazebo. They truly transform the store into your Christmas destination for all your holiday needs.

Luke and his team have visited some incredible homes throughout Greensboro to work their decorating magic, creating distinctive personal styles for a few special clients. It proved so popular that we’re now officially offering New Garden Interiors, an interior design service that will help you create your own signature home style utilizing unique and stylish pieces, including one-of-a-kind offerings.  From floor coverings to furniture and décor that makes a statement, Luke will determine just the right pieces to reflect your personality and lifestyle.

Great design isn't limited to just indoors. Luke’s talents have also transformed outdoor spaces into beautiful living areas. Take advantage of the additional living space available just outside your door to create an outdoor room for relaxing and entertaining. Indoors or out, New Garden Interiors is a design solution for those who want a more beautiful home but lack the time or confidence to bring their dream to life.

To set up a New Garden Interiors consultation, contact Luke at (336) 362-6031, or send an email to jhilton@newgarden.com