17414 Bothell Everett Hwy • Mill Creek, WA 98012
425-482-5276

March is the time to “spring” into action in the garden!

Prune clematis and roses: cut back summer-blooming clematis to the third set of fat buds from the base. Fertilize after pruning with Dr. Earth’s Tomato Fertilizer (yes, Tomato fertilizer!)  Prune hybrid tea and floribunda roses back by 2/3’s or to a height of 18″ and to an outward facing bud. Remove any canes growing into the center of the plant to improve air circulation. Remove 1/3 of the oldest canes on climbers and cut back laterals to 5-6 inches. Fertilize after pruning with your favorite organic product.

Cut back deciduous ornamental grasses close to the base (3-4inches above the ground). Groom evergreen ornamental grasses by combing them through with a hand rake or gloved hands.
Plant fruit trees, berries and perennial crops like asparagus, rhubarb and horseradish now. Cool season veggies like peas, seed potatoes and onion sets can be planted now as well.
Plant lilies, dahlias, glads and other summer flowering bulbs in a sunny location in well-drained soil for a riot of color and bouquets of cut flowers later this season
Bait for slugs: Slugs love our damp, mild springs and come out in force to munch on tender new plant shoots. Apply pet- and environment-friendly Sluggo to keep these nasties under control.
Divide perennials now that bloom in late summer or early fall – asters, black-eyed Susans, goldenrod, even Shasta daisies and ornamental grasses. Pull back mulches from emerging early season perennials to avoid rotting young, fresh foliage. Be careful working or walking on wet soil – allow it to dry out slightly to avoid compaction and damage to its structure.
If you didn’t do so in the fall, a light fertilizing of rhododendrons, azaleas, pieris and camellias can be done now.

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ROSES ARE IN!

Roses bloom lusciously from mid-May to frost. Their glorious colors and lovely fragrance blend well with other perennials and shrubs in any sunny, well-drained garden site. Despite their reputation, you’ll find they’re fairly easy to grow and give your garden lots of interest for your efforts.

Choosing a Rose 
Recent rose introductions have provided rose-growing amateurs and pros alike with more choices than ever. The old-fashioned beauty and rich perfume of David Austin’s English roses are a wonderful new addition to the rose repertoire. Floribunda and shrub roses have numerous, smaller blossoms per stem (an instant bouquet) and grow 3-5 feet tall. Hybrid teas are the formal, large-flowered, long-stemmed choice for cutting, and grow 4-6 feet tall. Rugged rugosa roses are known for their fragrance, disease resistance, ability to withstand coastal growing conditions and the huge rosehips that often appear while the plant is still blooming; they can grow to about 6 feet tall and wide. Climbing roses are wonderful for covering an unsightly fence, old building or scrambling up into a tree. Li’l Sprout’s rose varieties are especially well-suited to growing in the Puget Sound region; we emphasize those that are easiest to grow, with good disease resistance, you will be successful with.
Location 
Roses require a sunny location with at least 6 hours of sun a day, well-drained soil, and good air circulation. Roses may be grown in containers as well: miniatures could be planted in containers 14″ or larger; larger-growing varieties would require a container approximately 18″-20″ in size. Containers can be of any material-wood, clay, ceramic, plastic, concrete-but must have drainage holes.
Planting 
Dig a rough-sided hole twice as wide as the rootball, and only as deep as the rootball. Mix super-phosphate OR bone meal in the bottom of the hole. Remove the pot and carefully set the plant into the hole. Be certain the grafted crown is above ground level. Mix a shovelful or two of compost to the soil dug out of the hole; fill in the hole with the soil/compost mixture, tamping gently to settle the ground. Water well, adding Up-start to ease transplant shock and help the rose establish. Mulch with 1-2″ of organic matter to suppress weeds and conserve moisture, taking care to leave the base of the plant free of mulch. Allow newly planted roses to root in place for four to six weeks before applying any fertilizer.
Care 
Roses need a consistent supply of water, along with good drainage. Rugosas are an exception and need only be watered the first year until they are established. Most roses need about an inch of water a week to keep blooming well. Water deeply, thoroughly-then allow the soil to dry out. Never allow rose plants to become so stressed they wilt. Apply water to the ground only, keeping the foliage dry, to keep diseases to a minimum.
Four to six weeks after planting, feed with a complete rose fertilizer. Or feed regularly from late March through August with a complete, balanced rose food. Avoid use of fertilizers with systemic insecticide mixed in and handle insect pests separately as they appear.
Common problems include aphids, black spot, mildew and rust. Aphids are best washed off with a hose or squished by hand. If they persist, insecticidal soap used as directed works well. Black spot, mildew and rust are fungal diseases that can be lessened in a number of ways. Good air circulation and garden sanitation are crucial. Remove spent blooms and keep the ground clean of fallen leaves, especially if diseased. We carry fungicides to help in the control of rose diseases. Follow label directions for best results.
In our climate, roses often bloom well into November. To assist their transition into dormancy, snip off leaves in October. Use loose, lightweight organic matter for winter mulching protection (straw, bark, sawdust), covering over the graft union about 12-15 ” deep; uncover around March 1st when doing spring pruning. The entire height of tree roses must be protected: a chicken wire cage placed on the ground around the rose and filled with straw or leaves to cover the high graft should protect tree roses through our coldest winters.
Pruning 
In our Puget Sound climate, rose pruning is done in earliest March, after the coldest winter weather has passed. The different types of roses require different pruning attention. New growth may have started which will be pruned off: go ahead and prune anyway! Hybrid Teas and Grandifloras are pruned quite hard, to about 6-12″ from the ground. Leave only the strongest 3-6 canes, cutting out the others completely. Floribundas, shrubs, English roses, antiques and ground covering types are left twiggier and are pruned less severely: to about 15-24″ from the ground. Prune tree roses according to the type of rose grafted on top of the trunk. Climbing roses are not pruned their first two years. Train long, main-framework branches vertically or horizontally; they are usually left intact. In the third year, shorten side branches (growing off the main framework) to about 6-10″. If climbing roses begin to look thin at the bottom with few leaves, cut 1-2 old canes to the ground to encourage new growth. As with pruning of all kinds: dead, diseased and damaged wood is always removed first; then weak and crossing branches are removed. Cut faded blooms back to a five-leaflet leaf.

New for spring 2017
Unique, Hard to Find Trees & Shrubs

Liriodendron tulipifera 
Easy to grow Deciduous tree that grows to 90ft. tall and 50ft. wide. Interesting tulip-like flowers in spring that are yellow with an orange band. A great plant choice for your part shade to sun native garden. Zone 5-9
Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’
Easy to grow deciduous tree that grows to 20ft. tall and 10ft. wide. Amazing 6 inch black-purple blooms in spring. A great plant choice for your sun garden or along a path. Zone 5-9
Magnolia ‘Cleopatra’
Easy growing deciduous tree that grows to 15ft. tall and 7ft. wide. Spectacular 7 inch deep pink-purple flowers early spring. A great plant choice for your sun garden or path. Zone 5-9
Franklinia alatamaha
Easy to grow deciduous tree that grows to 20ft. tall and 15ft. wide. Stunning white flowers with bright yellow center in late spring with spectacular fall color. A great plant choice for a specimen in your part shade to sun garden or container.
Zone 6-9
Ginko biloba ‘Elmwood’ 
Easy to grow deciduous male tree that grows to 20ft. tall and 8ft. wide. Beautiful green, fan shaped leaves. A great plant choice for your part shade to sun garden or container.
Zone 5-8
Cornus sericea Red or Yellow
Easy to grow deciduous shrub that grows to 8ft. tall and 8ft. wide. Spectacular shrub grown for its bright red or yellow stems for winter interest. A great plant choice for your part shade to sun garden or container. Zone 3-7

 Spring bulbs in bloom, ready to plant now.

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