Megan  Fleischer, The Arboretum’s Display Garden Manager, gives seasonal gardening tips in her periodic blog.


Spring is here—hooray!  No really, March 20th is the first day of spring!  You know, the time of year where temperatures won’t drop below 40 degrees at night and will reach at least 60 degrees daily, right?  Ha, I can dream.  Any Ohioan knows that we should still expect a roller coaster of weather conditions for most of spring.  However, the plants in the gardens are full of activity and need care regardless of whether or not the outdoor conditions are to my liking.

The gardens demand a lot of attention, especially this time of year.  At Dawes, the foliage from perennials that served as winter interest in the garden now looks shaggy and beat.  There are small hints of life emerging at the base of some perennials (fooled by the 70 degrees we experienced in early March, I suspect) which alert me that it’s time to remove the old foliage to make way for the new.

Despite the unpredictability of the weather, this is my favorite season.  My mind is fresh with new ideas and the gardens are getting a fresh start as well.  Some perennials will be divided and moved to different locations, new gardens will be gleaming with the newest perennials on the market and other gardens completely removed. I am especially looking forward to watching the Sensory Garden (behind the Visitor’s Center deck) evolve during its first full growing season.  This garden will have visitors exploring plants with their sense of touch, smell and taste as they stroll through—a treat for children and adults alike!

Finally, in order to stay ahead of the craziness springtime typically brings, I set a number of gardening goals each month that I know need to be done in order to achieve prolific flower beds.  Generally maintenance-oriented, these goals help keep weeds in check and plants healthy and thriving.

My “Garden Goals” for this month: cut down ornamental grasses and spread weed pre-emergent throughout the gardens—must get ahead of that pesky bittercress (see photo), I’ve seen it flowering in some of my gardens already!  Oy vey!

Keep tabs on this blog to find out what gardening goals will be set for April.  I’ll be back soon with more secrets from the garden!

Bittercress picture source: Purdue University Extension