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It’s rainy, it’s sunny, it’s cold, it’s warm… it’s March!

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  Mar 3, 2017   Demaree

Other than fall, early spring is the next best time to plant. A visit to your local Nursery ( ah... maybe Green Hills?) will really get you going! Lots of spring flowering perennials will be available. New and improved varieties of Lavenders, Dianthus and Gaillardias just to name a few. Flowering Magnolias, Redbuds and Quince may already be in full bloom by early March. I guarantee it will give you the planting ‘bug’. Besides, now’s the best weather to go out and play in the yard.

Planting spring flowers or vegetables in March is like rolling dice, You may get lucky or crap out.

Cold tolerant annuals like Petunias, Dianthus and Begonias are a safe bet. Marigolds, Zinnias and Impatiens are frost tender to low temperatures. Late March into April is a safer weather bet for bedding plants. Wet winters also mean lots of slugs and snails, so don’t forget the Snail Bait (SLUGGO for those with pets).

With the exception of tomatoes (which should be hot-caped), early spring is a very risky time to plant vegetables. If you do feel the urge to plant, keep some frost cloth or hot caps handy for sudden cold snaps or rains storms. Remember that our planting season lasts 3 months!

I hope you re-staked that new tree or pruned an old one so they don’t break or blow over. And…….I don’t want you to have a Deja Vu moment but you DID apply a pre-emergent like I told you last month, right? Enough said.

Here is a plant that should be in every garden. Erysimum ‘Bowles' Mauve’ or Bowles' Mauve Wallflower. This evergreen shrub only grows 24-30 inches and blooms almost year round. Compact in habit, it can be pruned back in winter if you want. It has 4-petaled lavender - purple flowers on the end of tall stems above the foliage from early spring to winter. The longest stems can be cut back to the foliage since new flowers are emerging every day. This keeps the plant looking clean and neat. Plant Bowles Mauve in any sunny location that has well drained soil. Fertilize 2 or 3 times a year if needed. Average watering required though this plant becomes somewhat drought tolerant when established. Bowles Mauve looks good in Cottage garden, woodland, Mediterranean, tropical and southwest designs.

OK. Here’s what nobody will tell you except me. Bowles Mauve is short lived, generally around 3-4 years. I think it blooms its little head off year round until it just collapses from exhaustion. That’s alright since you may want to plant something else after several years or just replant and keep enjoying the ‘next best’ plant again.