Gardening in March Can Offer Many Rewards

Gardening in March? Yes or no – it’s really a guessing game. Will it warm up too soon? Will the rains start or stop? The only thing we can count on is that the end of the month is not far off. {{more}} By now many gardeners have started seeds indoors, have pruned trees and shrubs and their tools are ready to go. Sometimes it’s tempting to take advantage of warm days, but patience is the key word. As the weather warms towards the end of the month you can begin removing mulch. Garden beds should be dry before you begin working the soil. Planting early onion sets and lettuce in pots will ease your desire to get back to the garden. March is a good time to cut back ornamental grasses (4 to 6”). Butterfly bushes and hydrangeas will also benefit from a trimming. You can begin feeding your houseplants and if necessary, repot them

And don’t forget – having your soil tested is a key to a successful lawn. The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, located in New Haven, will test your soil for free. Simply call 203-974-8521 and they will give you specific instructions. The Agricultural Station is a wonderful resource for any questions you may have regarding your garden and environment.

Did You Know?

It may be too soon to think about those pesky mosquitoes, but not too soon to build a bat house. I know you’re probably saying “ugh,” but did you know a small bat can devour more than 600 mosquitoes in a single hour! They also eat beetles, wasps and moths. So encouraging bats to nest near your house is a natural way to keep your yard bug free. A bat house is a simple project and actually something you can do with your children. This a great project to tackle during the upcoming school vacation. Plans can easily be found on the internet.

Once made, hang the bat house high in a sunny corner of your backyard and enjoy your summer picnics bug free. Installing a bat house before April improves the chance of occupancy. But don’t be discouraged, if bats do not immediately move into their new home.

The Department of Environmental Protection in Burlington notes, “It is not unusual for a house to stand empty for at least a year before it is used.’’ So again, patience in the garden is important.

“Let’s Celebrate the Arts”

On Saturday, June 1, The Garden Club of Orange will present a Standard Flower Show titled “Let’s Celebrate the Arts.” This free event is open to the public and will take place at Holy Infant Church gymnasium 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Floral design, horticulture, table settings, artistic crafts and educational exhibits will be on display. Mark your calendar -you will not want to miss this special event.

Marion Rizzo is president of The Garden Club of Orange