After months of cool and sometimes wet weather, it is time to get busy in the garden this month. There may still be some rain and the temperature will vary, but it is definitely the beginning of spring and many shrubs and perennials are starting to show signs of growth.
This is a good time to start fertilizing those plants that are at the beginning of their bloom or growth cycles as well as established plants that only get fed once a year. Be sure to know the basic requirements of the plants because not all have the same needs as far as nutrients and pH balance are concerned. Not every plant requires fertilizer every year. Shrubs and vines that have a tendency to grow rampantly should not be encouraged and it is usually not a good idea to feed ailing plants unless a nutrient or mineral deficiency is known for sure.
Spring is always a good time to plant and that goes for shrubs and perennials too. If you have your eye on a large shrub now is the time to get it in the ground so it can get established before the weather heats up. When planning new beds be sure to group plants together with similar cultural requirements, such as sun and water. It is tempting to plant them close together for instant impact, but in the long run it is best to adhere to the spacing suggested on the labels or in reference books to avoid overcrowding and stressed plants the following years. Try filling in bare beds with annuals for a while until the shrubs and perennials fill in the space as expected.
If you want to propagate some of your perennials that have been successful in your garden, now is the best time to get softwood cuttings started.