April Gardening 101

by Karen on April 12, 2017

April is a month filled with leftover spring-cleaning, preparing for Easter if you celebrate it, and if you live in Virginia, finally feeling hopeful enough to start gardening because the weather is actually consistent enough to do so. However, with the task of gardening come some dos and don’ts of the April springtime gardening season. In addition to keeping your own gardening flourishing by following Karen’s tips below, you’ll also be helping out the environment with each change of your gardening practices. A win-win!

Tip 1

Remove invasive plants from your yard. Invasive plants that take over our gardens and our yards prevent native plants from growing and can seriously impact our native ecology. To learn more about invasive plant species and to see a list of common invasive plants in Northern Virginia read this article from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

April Gardening 101Tip 2 

Plant native plants that correspond with your local environment. We are taking away their natural habitat and must commit to planting native plants to help our native critters survive. To see which plants are native to Northern Virginia and where you can purchase them visit this site.

Tip 3

Keep outdoor lights off at night to help birds, night mammals, and night plants survive in a happy and healthy environment. When there is too much light at night, it can disrupt natural harmonies and metabolic cycles of plants and animals.

Tip 4

Plan ahead and plant for multiple seasons of fruit and bloom. If you plan your garden ahead of time, be sure to plant some beautiful flowers, ground cover, and shrubs that bloom throughout the season. This will be sure to leave your garden looking beautiful year round and balance some of the work that you have to do between all four seasons!

Tip 5April Gardening 101

Reduce lawn size and do not use chemicals on your lawn. Reducing lawn size eliminates the need for constant upkeep and maintenance. There is no need for pesticides and fertilizers if you plant native plants in the right place, as they will thrive naturally themselves.

 Tip 6

Plan to plant multiple layers in your garden to create your own mini thriving ecological system in your garden. Be sure that you include ground cover, flowers, shrubs, an understory, and a canopy. Ground cover includes plants such as the native Partridge-Berry and the Wild Strawberry. A native understory species would be the native Flowering Dogwood or Red bud, and a native canopy species would be White Oak or Shortleaf Pine.

April Gardening 101

Wild strawberry flowers

Tip 7

Plant native plants that provide shelter and food for wildlife and make sure that you leave some standing brush piles, leaves, or open dirt available for animals to thrive. We’ve got to share the space that we have!

Tip 8

Build a rain garden to keep water on your property and protect your water shed. Keeping water on your own property will ensure that our waterways are clean. Check out this website for more information about rain gardens and how to build one for yourself.

Tip 9

Always water your new plants and don’t overwhelm yourself! Gardening does not have to be a stressful experience or overwhelming if you do a little every year. Plant a native tree, bush, or small perennial flower garden first. Then start getting rid of any invasive plant species that you have in your garden. Take it step by step and before you know it, you’ll be able to look at your diverse and self-sustaining garden with satisfaction.

Tip 10

Spread the word about the importance of planting native plants, eliminating the use of fertilizers and pesticides, and building rain gardens. Get involved and educate those around you about the dangers of invasive plant species and any other tips that you’ve learned.

 

If you have any more questions about gardening, feel free to contact Karen Prante or Linda Fuller! A Second Me can help you grow a beautiful garden that helps our environment with consulting services, light weeding services, and more tips and tricks for any garden needs. Give us a call, email us, or contact us on social media and we will be happy to help duplicate yourself outside the home to maintain and grow a beautiful garden this spring!

April Gardening 101

 

More helpful information:

Place to purchase native plants:

https://www.midatlanticnatives.com

Get small but inexpensive native trees here:

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/nvswcd/seedlingsale.htm

Karen buys most of her native plants at Earth Sangha:

http://www.earthsangha.org

Learn more about invasive plants; their removal, and volunteer to help get rid of them:

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/resource-management/ima/

Get a free home consultation on how to make your property wildlife friendly:

http://audubonva.org/wildlife-sanctuary-program

Learn about how the county can help with expenses for large projects in your yard:

http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/nvswcd/cap/cap-homeowner.htm

Eye opening book on how important our native plants are and why:

Bringing Nature Home by Doug Tallamy

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