Wouldn’t it be nice for the Easter Bunny to enjoy spring flowers while hiding eggs in your yard? Lucky for her- and you!- there are hardy flowers that can tolerate frost.
Pansies, snapdragons, dianthus, nemesia and salvia can, if acclimated, survive temperatures dropping to 22 degrees. Have a handy means of covering them the first few nights outside if the forecast is for below freezing temperatures, or for any hefty spring storms that might lurk in our future. It is after all Wyoming, where spring temperatures can swing 50 degrees in less than 24 hours!
There are more annuals to fill out your pots or beds that aren’t quite as hardy, but do tolerate a light frost: petunias, bacopa, osteo’s, and million bells (a.k.a. callies or alohas). With this spread of plants, you can create combinations with a wide variety of colors, heights, textures, and growth patterns.
Want to add more color still? Geraniums can take a very light frost, so if you’re including those in your pots or beds, make sure you have an easy way to cover and protect them against spring’s crazy weather.
Plants to avoid until danger of frost has passed include heat and sun loving flowers like zinnias, marigolds, and moss roses. Hmm, it makes sense that full sun plants don’t do well with sub-freezing temperatures.
There’s no need to purchase new potting soil for your pots each year. Amend it with compost or manure, and add in a hefty dose of time-released fertilizer when you plant, and your plants will be healthy and happy. If the soil has dried out, dump it into a wheelbarrow, break up the clumps, slowly add water until all of the soil is moist. Another soil-saving tip is to place plastic bottles in the bottom to lessen he need for soil, and to make the pot lighter and easier to move. Roots of annuals on reach just a few inches deep, so no need to fill a 14” pot with soil. Yup, it’s odd for a garden center to tell you to not to buy stuff, but the truth is that soil can be reused for quite some time.
In other Easter Bunny beautification tips, now is a good time to trim back perennials. For ground hugging plants like sedum, meadow sage, perennial geraniums and the like, cut old flower stalks back to just above the new green growth. Thicker and woodier stalks will need to be snipped, while thinner stalks can be gently pulled by hand. Last year’s growth around irises and day lilies can also be cleaned up by hand.
Most perennials will show new growth by now, but not all. Plants like Russian sage are notorious late bloomers so wait a couple of weeks before cutting that back. When you do trim, cut back to green bud growth which could be as high as 8” on last year’s stalks. Decorative grasses are also cut 6-8” above the soil surface. Close cropping of grasses can kill the plant.
For you skeptics that don’t believe in the Easter Bunny, it’s still a great time to clean up the yard as Lander’s citywide clean up is next week. Pick up for north side will be Monday, April 21st while south side pick up is Tuesday, April 22nd. Items for pick up must be on the curb, properly prepared: tree limbs must be no longer than 4’ and bundled together no more than 1’ in diameter. All leaves and plant debris must be bagged. Pick up will take place between 7 am and 3 pm.
The weather forecast looks promising for both yard clean up and planting. Finally (FINALLY!) we have the chance to plant flowers. Anyone else have a serious itching to get hands in the dirt?!?!
Geraniums, pansies, bacopa and spikes make for a lovely early season pot of color.
Although still small, the million bells (also known as callies) are starting to flower- yellows, purples, pinks, peach and white colors are available.
Too bad there's not a "scratch and sniff" feature. Not only are pansies lovely, they have a delightful scent!