Your annuals and perennials

flower-seasonal-perennialsInexperienced Calgary gardeners are looking at their flower beds and wondering if now is a good time to head for the garden centre to buy the annual flowering plants they plan to put in this season. After all, the golf courses are open and night time temperatures are above freezing. Foothills' Marie Germain, our Maintenance Supervisor, tells us that while tempting, don't be fooled. The past two seasons gardeners have put their bedding plants out in mid to late May, and by early to mid June, those eager gardeners have gone back to the garden centres to replace the plants killed off by late frost or snow. Good for garden centres, but not so good for gardener's budgets. Marie suggests waiting until the first or second week in June before putting annuals into your garden just to be on the safe side. And because annuals tend to be heavy feeders, a weekly fertilization with a 20-20-20 fertilizer will help.

Perennials are a different story. If you haven't already, now is a great time to cut back any of last year's growth to near ground level to give new shoots space and light to fill in. Ideally, this should be done before the old leaves start to rot and introducing fungus and bacteria into your perennial plantings. Take some of that same 20-20-20 fertilizer, and work it into the soil around the roots of perennials without disturbing them - broken roots make fertilizing useless.

With any fertilizer, the most important tip is simple: read the directions. Too much fertilizer can cause chemical burns on roots, killing the plant. Too little, and you might be wasting your money.