WRITTEN BY SUSIE ANDRES, ST. TAMMANY MASTER GARDENER ASSOCIATION
EACH SPRING MANY of us turn our thoughts to gardening. As trees and shrubs send out new growth and we drive by local nurseries that are full of bright, colorful bedding plants, we get the urge to plant. But the wise gardener knows that before planting comes planning.
Before digging in to add new life to your garden, take the time to assess your landscape so that you have an idea of the growing conditions on your property. Pay attention to which areas are in full sun, shade, or a combination of both. Walk around and see if you have areas that remain wet for days after a rainfall or stay dry. After you review your property, pull out your gardening books or hit the internet to see which plants are suited to the various areas of your garden. Knowing which plants are suited to your garden will help in the selection of new plants. Louisiana Super Plants are tough and beautiful plants that perform well in our climate. Information on Super Plants and extensive information on gardening is available on the LSU AgCenter website lsuagcenter.com.
Prior to your shopping trip, make sure your beds are prepared–pull weeds, remove dead foliage and add new soil to beds if needed. Have a plan for placement of your new plants. When you are shopping, consider adding native plants which are well-suited to our St. Tammany growing conditions and are attractive to our native pollinators. Many gardeners combine bedding plants, usually flowering annuals, with warm-season vegetables and herbs. Local nurseries can provide information on which plants can be planted now and those that prefer warmer temperatures arriving in late spring. Happy gardening!