April Gardening Chores: Zone 6
Lawns: As ground becomes workable, rake up winter debris (leaving certain areas as natural food source for birds); de-thatch lawn if necessary; fill in low spots with soil, and fertilize established lawns. Crabgrass will begin to germinate when soil temperature reaches 50 degrees (around the time the forsythia blooms). Apply corn gluten (to control weeds) at this time, or a crabgrass pre-emergent. Test lawn soil, and apply lime if necessary.
Beds: Farmers Almanac tip to determine whether your garden soil is ready for seeding – grab a handful of soil. “If it forms a ball, the soil is too wet, but if it crumbles through your fingers like chocolate cake, it is ready for planting!” Have your soil tested (CT Agricultural Experiment Station website http://www.ct.gov/caes/site/default.asp provides a form and instructions for mailing soil samples). Fertilize preferably with a fertilizer containing slow-release nitrogen. Divide and replant crowded bulbs (winter & spring blooming). As you are cleaning up your beds, bear in mind that many unwanted insects and diseases can overwinter in your garden, so you may not want to add this debris to your compost. Cut back any perennial foliage that you didn’t trim back last fall; wait until new growth appears before cutting back the butterfly bush, lavender, sage, Montauk daisy, caryopteris, and other woody shrubs. Cut back ornamental grasses before new growth appears. Prune roses and boxwoods! As our “winter soil” softens and dries out, divide and transplant! Hostas, ornamental grasses and ferns and best divided & transplanted in early spring.
Container plants: Make sure to provide sufficient water to plants that have over-wintered in containers (soil in containers dries out quickly); check the soil for mold and re-pot with fresh soil if necessary.
Set up birdbaths and maintain with fresh water for our migrating, nest-building friends!
Maintaining the garden at the Norwalk Public Library.
Join our March and April meetings to hear the following guest speakers (1:20 pm, Gallaher Mansion, Cranbury Park, Norwalk):
March 8 – our guest speaker is Amy Ziffer, Northeast gardening specialist, who will discuss Shade Gardening with us! http://www.amyziffer.com/
April 12 – Linda Fleming, Master Gardener and herb expert, will tell us how to “Bloom where we are planted”.
The Norwalk Garden Club supports the creation of backyard habitats for our wildlife, especially during the winter months. Rather than throwing out your holiday greens, make a brush pile in a protected area of your yard to provide shelter for birds and other wildlife. Brush piles provide safe spots for chipmunks, rabbits,hibernating reptiles, amphibians, insects and ground-nesting birds. Leaves (especially shredded ones) help fertilize the soil and protect roots from extreme cold. Provide water that won’t freeze! Our wildlife can expend valuable energy looking for water on extremely cold days. Invest in a quality heater for your birdbath, or have water supplies close to the house and keep them supplied with fresh water.
November 9th workshop at 1 pm: we will be creating Holiday Floral Arrangements. Members bring your container of choice – flowers will be provided. (Gallaher Mansion, Norwalk)
December 3rd – Annual Christmas Fair from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm at the Cranbury Chapel (365 Newtown Avenue, Norwalk)
We are so thankful for the life of Marian Ainsworth and her tireless dedication to the Norwalk Garden Club (member since 1996) and to the City of Norwalk at large through various community projects. No garden chore was too hard, no craft, stitch, cemetery box or wreath was too much of a challenge for dear Marian. She maintained her yard as a natural habitat for birds and monarch butterflies, and donated true asclepias (milkweed) seeds to various organizations to promote habitats for butterflies. The salt of the earth and a wonderful teacher, she will be missed.
Local favorite Nic Mancini was our guest speaker for the September 14 meeting at Gallaher Mansion/Cranbury Park 1:30pm. Nic gave us terrific insight on how to prepare our gardens for next spring!
Join us May 21 at Cranbury Park for the annual Connecticut Tree Festival from 11am to 3pm. Stop by the Garden Club’s booth – the first 100 kids get a free marigold plant!
Connecticut’s Beekeeping expert Winthrop Baum of Backyard Beekeepers Association was our April guest speaker! He enlightened us with amazing facts about honeybees! Did you know that honeybees account for 80% of all insect pollination?
In May, we will have our annual planting of the Norwalk Green with geraniums and ageratums in preparation for the Memorial Day Parade.
As we prepare for spring, the Garden Club is hosting landscape designer Kathleen Connolly to discuss “Foundation Gardens: Hidden Assets in the Landscape”. The public is welcome to join us
Wednesday, March 9, 1:30, at the Gallaher Mansion in Cranbury Park to hear Kathy provide ways to improve the appearance of gardens that border our homes.
Due to icy conditions at Gallaher Mansion and snow predicted for Wednesday morning, the February meeting has been cancelled. Like Punxsutawney Phil, we look forward to an early spring!