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Prep Course

Tips from the pros to get your garden ready for spring

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When it comes to maintaining your plants, all the landscape pros stressed the importance of choosing the right plant for the right location. “Planting the right plant in the right place is always the best way to keep gardens as low maintenance as possible. This will in turn ensure more sustainability for years to come,” Waters said.

“It’s best to start looking around your neighborhood. Chances are what’s going to thrive in your garden is something your neighbor has,” Fawcett said.

But when it comes to low-maintenance plants, the experts have suggestions of their own.

Chiamulera suggests planting the Little Lamb or Phantom Hydrangea. These two hydrangeas lose their leaves in the fall, so there is only fall leaf clean-up required. She said that Sweet Woodruff, Purple Mazus, and Lady in Red Fern, are perennials that only need their foliage cut down from the prior year either at the end of the season or in the late winter or early spring.

Fawcett said that the Hosta, Coneflower (Echinacea), Peony, Iris, Lilac, Butterfly bush, Ornamental grasses, Clethera, Hawthorne, and Knockout roses are trees, shrubs, and perennials that are easy to take care of—if they are in the proper environment for the specific plant. Be sure to take note of the amount of sunlight and water each plant requires.

The Endless Summer Hydrangeas and Miscanthus are among Jones’ picks for low-maintenance plants. “The hydrangeas will give you a lot of impact from the flower throughout the summer and Miscanthus adds a lot of textural interest to the garden. The Miscanthus is a great plant to let it do its thing through the winter. Don’t cut it back until early spring. Let the foliage stay through the winter,” Jones said.

“The most obvious hearty, disease-free, deer-proof plant that people are using inexpensively now are Boxwoods,” Jamison suggests. He also said that the Lilac Tree is a great choice for a flowering shrub, and the Japanese Rhododendron is a plant the deer won’t bother.

Just remember that when it comes time to start working on your garden, it’s important to choose the right plant for the right location, and look at your garden with a critical eye. “I would encourage homeowners to take a walk in their garden and set some goals for where they want the garden to be for the summer and really start to plan for what your garden is going to look like. Then you will have a clear vision for where you want to head,” Jones said.

Follow these tips, and your garden will be flourishing come the warm weather!