Transitioning Your Garden From Spring to Summer — Gardens ebb and flow with the passage of time, transitioning from one season to the next. While vegetable gardens have clearly defined stages, flower gardens tend to morph from early spring until well into fall.
Preparing your garden for the changes in store improves its appearance and promotes healthy growth.
Creative Ways for Transitioning Your Garden From Spring to Summer
Spring-blooming perennials such as tulips, crocus, and hyacinths burst forth as soon as the snow melts in the spring bringing your garden to life with bright color, but they often fade before other perennials are ready to bloom. This may mean weeks with little or no color in the flower garden. Fortunately, annuals from the nursery are already in bloom and can bridge the gap between your spring and summer perennials.
Supplement with Annuals
Look for annuals that match the lighting of your location. Try impatiens, begonias or brilliant fuchsias to brighten shaded nooks, as these flowers thrive in shade or partial shade. Petunias, marigolds, and geraniums fill the bill for sunny locations. Tuck annuals into the flowerbed between your perennials to liven the bed while waiting for summer perennials to bloom
Don’t forget to take advantage of hanging baskets and containers to add height and depth to the garden. A shepherd’s hook or other plant hook suspended in the perennial bed allows you to grow baskets of annuals above the bed until your perennials are ready to bloom. Move the hanging baskets to the deck or patio when your summer perennials begin to bloom.
Trim back yellowed foliage from spring-blooming bulbs as soon as it begins to die back. Although the foliage is needed for several weeks after blooming to produce energy to store in the bulb for next year’s blooms, once it dies, it is no longer needed and can be safely removed.
Erect Trellises for Annual Vines
Vines such as morning glories and tall nasturtiums add height and interest to your flower garden. Plant them as soon as all danger of frost has passed in your area and by midsummer, the vines will cover the trellis and treat you to a dazzling display of blooms.
Mulching around the base of flowers controls weeds and conserves moisture. While some gardeners prefer decorative mulch, others prefer to mulch with grass clippings, wood-chips or straw. Organic mulch tends to break down over time and needs to be replaced, while stone or and other inorganic mulches do not. Choose the mulch that best fits your needs.
Add Birdbaths and Birdfeeders
Birdbaths and bird feeders attract birds to your yard adding both color and movement to the garden. Birds also provide the added benefit of eating insect pests, too.
Till the Soil
Spring is the time to till the garden and add the soil amendments. Spread a 3 to 4-inch layer of organic matter, such as well-rotted manure or compost over the garden area and work it into the soil with the garden tiller. This provides your veggies with a slow-release fertilizer while improving aeration and drainage too.
Plant Cool-Season Crops
Plant peas, potatoes, and other cool-season crops as soon as the soil can be worked, but wait until after the danger of frost has passed in your area before planting tender veggies, such as cucumbers and tomatoes.
Erect fences for peas and trellises for vining crops, such as cucumbers, pole beans, and squash and install tomato supports now before they are needed. This prevents damaging your plants as you struggle to install trellises and plant supports later in the season and transitions your garden from spring to summer.
Lay Landscape Fabric or Plastic Mulch
Mulching under warm-season crops, such as tomatoes and peppers, a week or two before planting your seedlings helps to heat the soil and prepare the bed for planting. Cut Xs to mark the planting site and plant the seedlings through the holes.
Helping your garden make the transition from spring to fall takes time and effort, but you’ll glad you took the time when your garden becomes an oasis of color and fragrance by midsummer and the first tasty fruits are ready for picking.