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Focus on Flowers: 3 Great Plants to Get Your Garden Ready for Spring

April 23, 2019
Focus on Flowers spring garden prep header

It took a while, but winter finally left Indiana. Then it came back. But then it left again and the weather was beautiful. But then it came back again. But now, it finally seems like spring weather is here to stay.

Hopefully the temperature hasn’t dipped in the time it took me to write that.

Spring in South Central Indiana is something to behold: Gorgeous green leaves coming from every direction, vibrant buds – maybe you’ll want to get your own garden in on the action.

So we asked our resident gardening expert and host of WFIU’s Focus on Flowers, Moya Andrews, to walk us through her own garden and show us a few options for getting back on track after a frosty winter.

First up is catmint (scientific name: nepeta), which, on top of being pretty low-maintenance, provides essential ground cover and blocks weeds from sprouting.

But over the winter, the plant develops a dense collection of pale, brittle undergrowth that you’ll need to hack off to make room for the new growth.

Nepeta also gets a sort of second wind late in the season. After the first round of blooms die, all you have to do is cut them off and new ones will take their place.

Hydrangeas are pretty common, so much that you might already have some planted in your garden. But before the radiant pinks, whites and pale blues can come through, you have to find out if your hydrangeas bloom on wood growing out this season (“new wood”) or wood still there from a previous season (“old wood”).

Moya’s are growing on new wood, so she’s cutting off the old growth a bit down each branch, stopping just before the new growth.

Lastly on our walkthrough are the lenten roses, a type of hellebore (Helleborus orientalis). While not technically roses, these do bloom pretty early in the season and can give you a nice jump on impressing your neighbors.

But like the catmint, hellebores get a thick brush of dead leaves underneath the new growth that develops over winter. And like the catmint, all it takes is some pruning and you’re on your way.

For even more gardening tips and techniques and information behind the plants, you can check out WFIU’s Focus on Flowers each week.