April showers bring May moss

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ELAINE CERNY/Special to The Press Ducks “guarding” my daffodils.

Yes, it would be great if April showers only brought May flowers, but unfortunately, they bring lots of moss if you have a shady yard. The only sure way to avoid this is to either cut down those trees or move!

This is a good time to get your lawn aerated. Doing that opens up the soil so the roots can take a deep breath. Toss on some lawn fertilizer and in no time your grass will be the envy of the neighborhood.

If you want a head start on growing those tall dahlias, go ahead and start them indoors. This way you should have flowers much sooner. Two of my favorites that are easy to find are “Mystery Day” and “Kelvin Floodlight.” The first one is purple and white and the second one is solid yellow. Both will produce a lot of huge flowers for you.

In case you haven’t cleaned out those birdhouses, now is the time to get that chore done. Early nesters, such as tree swallows, will be arriving soon and will nest elsewhere if they don’t like the looks of last year’s abode.

Speaking of birds, April 15 is the perfect time to fill and hang those hummingbird feeders. Most of us would agree that this is a much more enjoyable task than filing your income taxes. Don’t waste your money on “store bought” hummer food. You can easily make your own by boiling a cup of water to which you stir in a quarter cup of granulated sugar. Do not add red food color as that is harmful to the little guys. Just let the mixture cool, fill your feeder and hang in a nice spot you can see out your window.

Be sure to dig in some acid fertilizer around those blue hydrangeas. If you don’t, you will be seeing pink hydrangeas when they bloom. Dig the stuff in carefully as hydrangeas are shallow rooted.

If you want to divide your hostas, do it as soon as you see the little “noses” poking up. This way the little plants will develop into a nice round form over the season. Moving these plants can be a real chore as they have extensive root systems.

If you haven’t trimmed the dead wood off those rose bushes, this month is the ideal time to do that. Dig in some balanced fertilizer while you’re at it. 10-10-10 works well as an early spring feeding for roses, raspberries and strawberries. Don’t use it later on or you will get few roses and very little fruit.

Now for an invitation to a real treat. River City Garden Club, here in Post Falls, invites you to come and listen to a talk by the well-known garden speaker, Phyllis Stephens. This will be free to everyone interested. She is very knowledgeable and hilarious at the same time. The date and time are April 19, at 7 p.m. Location is the Post Falls Senior Center on Third Avenue. Hope to see you there!

In the meantime, keep in mind this bit of sage advice. Gardening is cheaper than a shrink … AND you get tomatoes!

• • •

Elaine Cerny has gardened most of her life, starting in 4-H. She has belonged to garden clubs in three states and is currently serving as secretary for the River City Gardeners Club in Post Falls. Her column appears in The Press every other Sunday from early March until late October.

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