A Frosty Start

What’s In The Garden…

April got off to a chilly start, but dyed-in-the-wool gardeners know there is still plenty to do!

As you plan your spring projects, remember to save a bit of space in your yard for our region’s amazing resident and migratory birds. Lively, colorful, and musical, birds bring excitement wherever they go – and stay. All of them need energy to get through the breeding season, so help fuel the seed eaters’ furnaces with highly desirable black oil Sunflower seed. Most seed-eating birds can’t get enough!

When you stock the feeder with Sunflower seed, you are most likely to attract Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays, White-breasted Nuthatches, House Finches, Tufted Titmice, and several types of woodpeckers. In our area, you should see Northern Flickers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers.

Entice the birds to stay just a little bit longer by adding a nesting box suitable for a family of Black-capped Chickadees, House Wrens, Carolina Wrens, Eastern Bluebirds, and woodpeckers. (A combination Wren/Chickadee house is an option!) All of these birds are cavity nesters, but natural nest holes can be tough to come by in suburbia, where most people cut down the very trees that suit these birds. Bird houses provide a reasonable facsimile of a natural cavity, and are easy to install in nearly any location. Do place your nesting box near good cover, so the birds will have the best chance of entering and exiting safely.

Note: Bluebirds prefer to nest in mainly open, grassy areas.

A bird’s eye view: A consistent source of fresh water and readily available food make a property more desirable.

Not all food sources need to come from the bird feeder. Birds also enjoy fruit and the insects that are attracted to various trees. If you are really dedicated to the cause, consider planting a flowering ornamental tree, such as a Pear, Plum, Crabapple, Cherry, Serviceberry, Magnolia, or Dogwood. Dogwoods, in particular, are excellent for property owners and birds, since these beautiful flowering trees provide multiple seasons of interest, ending with small red berries the birds can’t resist.

The frosty weather may have led you to back-burner some outdoor projects, but several tough-as-nails plants stand up to the fickle Jersey weather, including Helleborus, which remains our Perennial of the Week.

Pansies and violas are the toughest of the spring flowers, and can withstand temperatures below freezing (32 degrees F). Cold hardy annuals also include Sweet Alyssum, Snapdragons, and Dusty Miller. Gazania, Lobelia, Petunias that have been hardened off (acclimated to the cold), Calibrachoa “Million Bells,” and Osteospermum should also be doing just fine outdoors.

Cold tolerant herbs include Parsley, Oregano, Chamomile, Spearmint, Peppermint, Sage, Thyme, Tarragon, and Rosemary. Cole crops, including cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, are also fine outdoors at this time. Collard Greens, Peas, Spinach, Lettuce, Swiss Chard, Beets, Carrots, Celery, Arugula, Kale, and Strawberries also have what it takes to make it through the cold unscathed.

Rohsler’s has all these varieties ready for you to bring home and plant today! Bumper Crop, Garden Tone, or Plant Tone will help feed these plants so they will be well-adjusted and productive throughout the growing season.

If you already have some tender plants growing outdoors, or plan to plant some soon, keep in mind that a “floating” cover, such as Gardeneer by Dalen Harvest-Guard®, will help protect your plants from frost, insects, and birds. Each 10 X 15 blanket is reusable and does not require support. This cover will also help your grass seed germinate faster.

Always make sure your plants are well watered before a frost, and keep them properly mulched to help moderate the temperature of the roots.

The cold weather won’t last, so plan your lawn care routine now! Check out Scotts 4-Step lawn fertilization program, and take advantage of the Rohsler’s Instant In-Store Rebate.

We have Felco pruning tools to make your pruning easier and with cleaner cuts, and special pricing is now available.

If you just can’t wait to start your summer-flowering bulbs, give them a head start by planting them indoors in containers. Rohsler’s now has an excellent selection of Canna Lilies, Gladiolas, Begonias, Dahlias, Elephant Ears and other favorites.

Of course, it’s always balmy in our greenhouse. Stop in today, and pick up a topiary artfully made from Rosemary or Lavender, or enliven your décor with a Rohsler’s Grown Hydrangea.

If you prefer, our floral department has fresh, lovely bunches of tulips and wrapped rose bouquets that are ready when you are!

The floral shop now has special offers on wristlets and boutonnieres for the prom-bound. Stop by today for details.

Don’t forget to feed the fish! If you have fish in your private pond, you’ll want to see this week’s Rohsler’s Picks.

Don’t lose heart! Keep those trowels close at hand. You’ll soon be back digging in the dirt.

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