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April (Snow) Showers Bring May Flowers: Tips for Fairfield County Gardeners

Come June, what was a dead-looking patch in April in Norwalk resident Laura White's garden is lush with flowers. Photo Credit: Laura White
White's flower garden in the last week of March is ready to be cleaned up and prepped for planting. Photo Credit: Laura White
"My Knock Out rose bush loves the spot where I planted it and it grew much larger than expected," said White of her favorite flower. Photo Credit: Laura White
By July, White's garden is blooming with carefully chosen plants. Photo Credit: Laura White
Can you believe this gray patch in March will be bursting with color in July? Photo Credit: Laura White

Don't let the snow on the ground discourage you. Rest assured, the calendar really does say April and it is time to start thinking about gardens. 

Longtime Norwalk resident and avid gardener Laura White is certainly thinking about her own flower garden. 

"The snow has delayed starting to clear my garden of old perennial stalks from the fall, but I should begin the maintenance in the first week in April," she said.

White admits she didn't know where to start when she decided to turn a small patch in her front yard into a flower garden in 2000.

"I've always loved flowers," said White, "but I didn't know much about gardening. So I read many articles in gardening magazines and bought books to learn about the many varieties of flowers and their specifications, such as light requirements, height, color and bloom time."

The intrepid gardner also spent time browsing nurseries and asking for advice and recommendations from the experts there. 

"One thing that was always emphasized was that you need to choose the right flower for the amount of sunlight where you are planning to plant it," said White. "A flower that specifies it needs full sun usually would thrive best with over six hours of sunlight."

Her favorite flower to grow? Knock Out roses, which come in single and double flowers in many colors and bloom from May through November. 

Follow Laura White's tips to prep your garden this month:

  • Remove any dead leaves, perennial stalks and grasses that were not cleared in the fall
  • Prune rose bushes and cut back woody shrubs (such as buddleia, lavender and caryopteris) that will only bloom on new branches
  • Remove weeds either by hand or hoe. Then work in compost around plants to fertilize them. If chemical fertilizer is used, follow application directions on container.
  • Divide perennials as soon as you see the plants emerge. This is usually done every three to five years to avoid overcrowding and rejuvenate the plants. You can then transfer the divided plants to another location in your garden or exchange them for a variety of plants with other gardeners.
  • Apply a thin layer of mulch so seedlings can work their way through.

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