Early Spring Gardening Classes
Class times: 9:30-10:30
April 4 - Drip Irrigation Design and Installation (Free)
Newest technologies in irrigation introduced. It's time to turn that irrigation back on. Learn the benefits of drip irrigation, the best emitters and parts, how to set a system up or add to it. With the right system you can save water and have healthier plants at the same time. We will also go over how to properly set up and run an irrigation clock.
April 11 - Planting Advice that Works
Learn all the mountain secrets to local garden success. This is an information pack class guaranteed to increase garden blooms and fruit this year. The first 10 students to bring a soil sample receive a soil test done on sight with advice on how to improve the garden. You will know exactly what to do in the gardens this year.
April 18– Grow Your Own Groceries From Tomatoes 2 Fruits (Free)
This fun filled class has everything edible for the garden this spring. Plants, soils, best foods, care, culture, heirloom and non-heirloom plus more. We'll have 100's of tomatoes, demonstrations and hanging tomato baskets. This and everything else possibly pertaining to groceries this spring.
April 25 - Landscapes Filled with Low Care Native Plants (Free) includes a coupon
This class coincides with our annual native plant sale along with a host of other Low, LOW, LOW water use plants that once established require little to no water and even less care. No other nursery has so many native and low care plants in the region with the horticulturalist to help you plant it right.
May 2 – Mood Altering Flower Gardening (Free)
Some flowers are easier to grow than others. Students learn which flowers provide the easiest care color for the mountains of Arizona. See this springs new rose collection with a focus on super easy to bloom flowers your grandmother only dreamed of. Learn all the fragrant details and more with this class.
Legend has it that pansies could transfer the thoughts of sweethearts without a word being spoken. They have been in fashion since Victorians supposed them to be the flowers of lovers, and long a popular ingredient in "love potions". They have appeared in the writings of many authors, including D. H. Lawrence, Hawthorne, Wordsworth, and Shakespeare.Pansies remain the most popular mountain flower at the garden center. Daily, trunk loads of these flowers are carried home by gardeners to perk up otherwise dull spring landscapes. The dainty gold, purple, blue, and red blossoms easily fulfill their intended purpose
As members of the viola family, pansies technically are perennials but are best used as annuals or biennials. Because they deteriorate in the heat of summer (unless shaded) they should be used in the cooler seasons of spring, fall, and winter. During their first spring season they tend to be magnificent, so mountain gardeners plant them as cheery bright spots in spring gardens, replacing them with heat tolerant plants for summer.
Pansies are planted in September and October to give us color throughout the winter. Freezes shut them down for a short period in January, but as soon as temperatures moderate, they spring back to life with even more vigor and bloom. Tough little plants, they are perfectly suited in rock gardens and containers.
Over the years I have perfected the germination of pansies, a process not as simple as scattering a few seeds in a pot of soil and waiting for that bit of green. After sowing the seeds, sprinkle about 1/8" of seed-starting mix over them, and cover the flats with a board or cloth. Pansy seeds require 10 – 20 days of total darkness for germination. Check on their progress frequently. Move the seedlings to a cool, bright area as soon as they emerge, taking care to keep the seedlings moist. They can be transplanted as soon as they have two sets of true leaves.
But don’t worry if you’re not into starting seedlings. Pansies are the first flowers to show up at local garden centers in spring, and are very affordable. Because mountain spring weather can turn cool unexpectedly I suggest planting only 4-inch and 1-gallon sized pansies early in spring, staying away from the smaller 6-packs until after April. The additional size and maturity of the larger plants makes them more robust should a final winter blast hit the gardens.
Pansies like sunny, moist conditions. They bloom best when there is ample water provided by rich soils in raised beds and container gardens. They are heavy feeders, so for maximum color and fragrance feed them twice a month with water soluble 'Flower Power 54'. Deadheading promotes more flowers that will bloom for longer periods of time. Snails and slugs like pansies, but they are easy to overcome; slug bait is the means to eliminate these slimy insects. Aphids also are attracted to pansies, but they can be exterminated with 'Home Harvest' insect spray.
Stay away from harsh pesticides if you plan to use your pansies in the kitchen. Yes, the colorful blooms are quite edible and make pretty garnishes for salads and desserts. With a little imagination, pansy blossoms make beautiful additions to spring meals, even if only as decorations. Blossoms frozen in ice cubes add a bit of fun to any summer gathering.
Pansies’ monkey-face-like markings long have charmed people and contributed to their interesting history. Their resilient determination to bloom in just about any conditions makes them excellent choices as spring bloomers. Spring is here! It's time for pansies!
Plant of the Week is the Flame Maple. Its dark green foliage forms early in spring, changes in fall to a crimson color resembling Japanese maple leaves, and loses its leaves only in extremely bitter winters. An Arizona-sun-hardy shrub, it grows to 10 feet tall with an equal spread. It thrives in drought hardy landscapes that need a showy plant to grow under power lines, between boulders, along a driveway, or as a hedge.
The Flame Maple is a low, low maintenance shrub that grows best in full sun and isn’t intimidated by mountain winds. As it may 'bleed' sap if pruned in late winter or early spring, it prefers a light pruning in summer after the leaves have developed fully. This variety has no significant negative characteristics and naturalizes easily.
Until next week, I'll see you in the garden center.