Spring planting season in high gear

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If you’re a local gardener and you want April’s shower to yield May flowers in your flower garden, now might be the time to get prepared.

“It’s an exciting time to be planting things for your home garden,” said Home Depot garden expert Mary Freeman.

“There are a lot of different things that are currently ready to be planted.”

One challenge facing gardeners is the cold and brisk winter that Louisiana faced.

Gary Ganier, owner of Ganier’s Southdown Gardens said people are sorting out what withstood the low temperatures before they make any decisions as to what to buy.

“The main concern people have right now is how did they survive the winters that they had,” Ganier said. “People are trimming down some stuff or are trimming some plants back. People are basically going to wait a little while to see what comes back and then when they know what does make it, they will fill in from there.”

But once those decisions are made, options are plentiful as to what can be bought and planted during this time of the year.

Plants are usually broken into two sub categories – perennials and annuals.

Perennial plants are those that have long lives and come back each spring. Annual plants are those that are planted in the spring, but do not last the winter and have to be replanted.

But local planter Lynne Patterson said plenty of options are available for both categories.

“There’s so many things that you can do, the possibilities are really endless,” said Patterson. “There’s a lot of opportunities and a lot of choices.”

Some of the most popular items being planted right now among annual plants are begonias, petunias, and marigolds.

With perennial plants, the options are just as plentiful and columbine, African sun daisies, and Mexican heather, as well as some vines, among others are some of the plants currently ready to be planted.

“Just about everything you will see in the stores right now is ready to be planted,” Patterson said.

“I would wait a few weeks on some of my vegetables, the gerber daisies and some of the more tender perennials.”

Ganier agreed with Patterson and added a few extra plants that he sees flying off the shelves of his green house this spring.

“People are buying and replenishing a lot of snap dragons and pansies,” he said. “And in a couple of weeks, you’ll get more of your impatiens and periwinkle and those things.”

Getting started is often one of the biggest challenges facing those with ambitions of a home garden.

But Ganier offered a few tips to help the rookie planter have success this spring.

“Bed preparation is the most important thing in terms of landscaping,” he said. “You have to get the design of the bed you want laid out … and then add about three inches of bed soil to the existing soil in that bed. You have to use what is already there, because it will deteriorate if you don’t.”

Freeman also said first-time gardeners should visualize their lawn before starting to see where the sun shines.

“Some plants need shade and others need more direct light,” she said. “You have to keep all of those things in mind, especially here, because our sun shines so bright, it can really affect our plants.”

And as far as cost? That’s really up to the dedication of the person doing the planting, according to Tammy Loyd with Timberline Nursery.

“It really depends on the area and how much you want to do,” she said.

“If you’re starting from scratch, it will obviously be more expensive, but how much you spend really depends on how much you want to get out of the space you have.”