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  • March garden tips & tasks

    If your fescue lawn looks a little skimpy, overseed early this month. Fescue grows best when the weather is still cool.

    Clip dead stems from perennial herbs – thyme, sage, lavender, rosemary. Pruning encourages vigorous new growth.

    Prune nandinas, flowering quince and other airy shrubs by reaching in and removing about a third of the branches at ground level.

    Remove mulch or leaves that may be covering perennials in garden beds.

    Prepare a new garden bed: Have the soil tested (check with your county’s Extension service). Remove grass and dig or till soil 8 to 10 inches deep and mix with soil amendments and organic matter to improve drainage.

    Add fertilizer lightly to perennials as soon as you see new growth. Too much fertilizer may result in lanky growth.

    Herb transplants that don’t mind cool weather -- parsley, cilantro, sage, oregano – can go in the ground now.

    When you cut daffodils to bring inside, cut the stems at an angle and place them in water right away. Change the water in the vase daily to keep them fresh longer.

    Save the date - Middle Tennessee garden events

    The Perennial Plant Society's annual Plant Sale will be April 8, opening at 9 a.m. at The Fairgrounds Nashville. The sale offers newly released and hard-to-find perennials from top local nurseries -- more than 450 varieties of perennials, vines, grasses, shrubs and annuals. The event supports local scholarships for Tennessee horticulture students and monthly gardening programs, open to the public, at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. For information visit www.ppsmtn.org.

    The Herb Society of Nashville's annual Herb Sale will be April 29, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. at The Fairgrounds Nashville. The sale will offer heirloom vegetables, rare varieties of perennial and annual herbs, handmade pottery herb markers and more. To learn more, visit herbsocietynashville.org.

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When daylilies’ days are over

I have planted daylilies for the first time. They are no longer blooming, but I don’t know what to do next. Should I cut the dead stalks and the leaves? When is the best time to do that?
Will Coltharp, the president of the Middle Tennessee Daylily Society, says they often get questions about what to do with those dead stalks, called scapes. “Personally, I let the scapes dry naturally on the plant, and only when they detach easily from the plant after a gentle tug do I take them off the plant,” he says. Pulling them off before they are ready to detach themselves risks damage to the crown of the plant.
If the dried scapes bother you, you could cut the top half off to make the bed look neater, “but that would be an awful lot of work if you have many daylilies,” he says. Leave the leaves alone.
Will says that one of the great things about daylilies is that they don’t require much care. Adequate water to keep their roots strong as they go into winter is about all they need right now.
If you get more into growing daylilies and want to meet some like-minded people, check out the Middle Tennessee Daylily Society.

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