Spring sometimes seems like one big project in the gardening world. All the beginning growth added to the time for planting seeds and dividing old plants and too many tasks to name inside one sentence means we are busy. This project page is a quick and easy way to access some of the articles to help us accomplish what needs to be done, and enjoy one of the most delicately beautiful scenes in the garden. Don’t forget to enjoy the journey when gardening!


Snowflake flowers

Leucojum vernum (spring snowflake)

Keep a Journal

Have you started a garden journal yet? Take the time to record your growing season, the seeds you bought and planted, your plans, and the names of the shrubs, trees, and perennials. Your notes can be detailed or general, but a journal will be a help when you want to remember and record what happened in the garden.

  • Preparing ground, vegetable and flower beds.
  • Planting trees and shrubs
  • Dividing perennials, planting perennials
  • Planting annuals
  • Hardening off indoor sown plants
  • Getting mowers ready for the mowing season
  • Applying fertilizers

What I love most about the spring garden is the many flowering bulbs that are blooming in my garden. From the large, brightly colored tulips to the naturalized Scillas that spread a carpet of blue, I delight each year in their appearance. A journal is the best place to record names of those that do well, or that are wanted for next year’s show.

If you aren’t sure what type of soil is in the garden, now is a good time to use the simple “ball squeeze testSqueeze a moistened ball of soil in the hand” for the basic structure, sandly, loamy, or clay. More on that, here.

If the soil is predominantly clay, delay working it (digging and tilling) until it dries enough to be crumbly. Read more on maintaining the tilth of the soil.

When catalog orders arrive, plant bare root trees, shrubs, and perennials with the same basic technique. Hold any annuals until past the frost dates, when the soils have warmed.

Work first with your trees, then with your perennials, next are cold crop vegetables, followed by annuals and tender crops. The progression of spring dictates best practices for working the soil and planting.

Spring is the gardener’s busiest time of the year. Every timesaving tip, and every growing tip is welcome.

Gather informative tips that ease the gardener’s work, providing greater planting and growing success.

Fruit trees should be planted in early spring, and spring blossoms lead to summer fruits- be sure to fertilize established trees.

If you are planting some new ones check out the general planting instructions for your new shrubs and trees, “How to select a tree” and “How to plant a tree“.

Some people worry about the effects of frost on their fruit and ornamental tree blossoms. There is very little one can do about the vagaries of the weather, but some forethought in situating the tree at the beginning can serve to somewhat protect them.

microclimate illustration

Showing leeward side of building

A “microclimate” created by a barrier such as other trees or a building can sometimes create almost a zone of difference.

South facing garden areas can make plants more susceptible to frost damage, North facing will retard the bloom and perhaps escape the harm of late frosts. Walls of buildings can hold heat. All are things that influence the time of blooms on your flowering trees and plants.

Plant early crop veggies starting as early as March, but certainly in April.

Peas, cole crops such as cabbage and broccoli, lettuces, and other greens are hardy enough to plant as soon as your ground is workable. Check out the garden tasks for Spring months, March, April, and May in the garden calendar


How Do You Divide Perennials?

Learn more: Why divide now

Herbaceous perennials mainly have three parts: the roots underground, the crown of the plant at the surface of the soil, and the green shoots when the plant is in full growth. Dividing perennials takes place in either early fall or in spring because the plant is in a dormant stage (with a few exceptions, of course). The purpose of the timing in dividing a perennial plant is to give the roots the best chance to grow.

7 Steps For Perennial Division, click

  1. Prepare ground for replanting; dig in any amendment.
  2. Lift the plant gently with a digging fork with as much root as possible.
  3. Take two forks and pry sections apart, or use a sharp garden spade to slice through the plant to make sections. Be sure to have a piece of crown and some healthy roots for each new plant.
  4. Prepare new plant by trimming any dead or damaged roots.
  5. Place new plant into prepared ground with growing crown at the same level it was previously (some plants are sensitive to being buried too deeply).
  6. Cover roots with loose soil, firm and mud in to prevent air pockets.
  7. Lightly mulch or cover newly set plant if the day is sunny or windy. Keep moist until new growth appears. Spring cooler temperatures and rains are ideal for newly divided plants

What is “mudding in”? Adding enough water to the soil to create mud. This will fill the soil around the roots and get rid of air pockets. Used in the transplanting process.

Planting Annuals

annual plantsFrom early spring seed starting through planting out once frost danger is past, annuals are part of our spring planting ritual each year.

Intro to Annuals

Informative PDF

Hardiness of annual seeds depends on where they are planted, so lists often differ. Use these example lists as a guide.

Annual seeds that will take frost and can be sown in late winter/early spring.

Example list of hardy annuals:

  • Bachelor Buttons (Centaurea cyanus)
  • Candytuft (Iberis umbellata)
  • Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
  • Clarkia elegans
  • Centaurea (Bachelor buttons and Sweet Sultan)
  • Larkspur (Consolida ambigua)
  • Love in a mist (Nigella damascena)
These can take some cold and are planted mid-spring

Example list of half-hardy annuals:

  • Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)
  • Bacopa cordata
  • French Marigold (Tagetes patula)
  • Gypsophilia elegans
  • Helichrysum
  • Nicotiana
  • Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)
  • Swan River Daisy, (Brachycombe iberidifolia)
Many annuals and perennials that are grown as annuals require warm soils and frost-free temperatures  before planting.

Example list of tender annuals:

  • Impatiens wallerana
  • Gypsophila elegans (Baby’s Breath)
  • Tropaeolum majus (Nasturtium)
  • Strawflower (Helichrysum bracteatum)
  • Tithonia rotundifola (Mexican sunflower)
  • Zinnias

How to Harden Off Annuals

Plants started indoors aren’t used to the harsher conditions of outdoors. A process of gradually getting them used to it, called “hardening off”, is part of growing your own plants from seed.

Begin slowly. Take your flats of seedlings into outdoors in a sheltered shady place starting with one to two hours. Each day increase the time by a couple hours. Increase the amount of sun the plants are exposed to, and over the course of two weeks (possibly less), the plants become capable of growing in the outdoors on their own.

Hardening off is an important step before planting.

How to plant your flats of annuals

Follow The Seasons

Inniswood Spring

Other pages for season based garden chores can be found from “Through The Seasons“. Check the Early Spring Garden Guide for timely hints, what’s blooming, and highlights of this time of year.

Spring Reading

One of the most important planting times for trees and shrubs is in the springtime, particularly in cold climates. Early as possible, before they break dormancy. Often shipped bareroot, but also available as container or balled and burlapped, try to get them in the ground in March and April.



This is an ideal time to see wildflowers in bloom, especially in woodlands.

Celebrate A New Beginning

There is so much to celebrate in the garden during this season, and although it sometimes looks warmer than it is, the flowers and plants are showing their colors and brightening up the world. This is such a busy time for gardeners, but try to visit public parks that have early flowering shrubs on display, or visit an Arboretum to find  plants for your own yard. Take walks to enjoy the scents and colors, the buzzing insects and even do some birdwatching.

The world is alive!

Spring Photo Gallery

More Spring Pictures