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Experience teaches that our weather does not “settle down” and become real spring until after Easter (always the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox), so we must be patient.

Don’t be quick to put out summer material, for it will sit there or rot if planted too early.  Remember summer annuals and perennials need steady night warmth to survive and grow.  We all know that nurseries will have geraniums, marigolds, impatiens, etc. for sale for Easter, but hold off unless you want to replant.

Cold hardy plants – biennials such as pansies, calendula, snapdragons, sweet William can go in now as can early spring perennials which bloom with the spring bulbs.  Nurseries always have tempting blooming bleeding hearts for sale, but be careful about putting these out too early as they can be zapped by a cold spell. Unless it’s cold hardy, has been hardened off outside of a greenhouse, or is an emerging perennial, your best bet is to hold off and not plant until the onset of settled warm weather.

Brighten your patio by making an early container grouping of pansies, alyssum (the hardy yellow variety), colorful lettuce plants, and English daisies.  This grouping will carry you into May when you can replant with summer material.

Finish any border clean up and carefully loosen the mulch around emerging bulb tips.  Prune any summer flowering shrubs (those that bloom on new growth) such as Rose of Sharon, butterfly bush, roses, hardy hibiscus.  Prune spring flowering shrubs after flowering.  If you do anything to your azaleas now (except remove deadwood), you lose the flowers.  Keep your pansies blooming by frequent deadheading (removing spent blooms). Dried tops of perennial grasses should be cut down.

Easter lilies are always an inside treat.  Select short to medium size plants with dark green foliage and buds just about to open.  Remove flowers as they fade and keep the plant growing until it is safe to plant outside. Plant about three inches below the soil in a sunny location.  The plant will gradually die back, but you can expect blooms next season in your border.

Terrific Turnout for

“Gardening in Small Spaces”

The Meadows/ Mews cooperative gardening venture began on February 16 when sixteen Meadows and Mews residents

turned out to hear Master Gardener Barbara Valenti address issues related to gardening in our patio areas. Barbara may present a future seminar this season entitled “Newcomer’s Briefing” which will cover such areas as planting zone, soil, free mulch, pests, watering, weed control, etc.

A second seminar has been scheduled for June 7 at 7:00 PM at Green Spring Garden when Coletta Hein will conduct a guided tour of the summer plantings at the public gardens and will address gardening in both sun and shade.  This Fairfax park has several landscaped patio areas which are of interest to Fairlington gardeners.

Each participant will be asked for a monetary contribution to be applied to Green Spring activities. To reach the park, take 395 Exit 3B (Little River Turnpike West.) Travel 1.25 miles. Turn right on Braddock Road. Drive 2/10ths mile and turn right onto Witch Hazel Road.

To be included in this seminar, Meadows residents can contact Chuck Edwards c-d@comcast.net (703-379-7256), and Mews residents can contact Tom Corbin tomrcor@aol.com (703-931-0687). Chuck and Tom are developing a “master list” of interested gardeners who will be automatically notified of future programs.  Contact them to be added to this list.  Details about all seminars may be found at www.fairlington.org.

Featured Mews Residents

Tom and Jill McGuire

Eight years ago we left Philadelphia to accept new teaching jobs in Arlington. We were lucky to find a nice apartment in Alexandria.

One day we were driving around the area and came across a beautiful community. It had a welcoming feel to it…Fairlington. To top it off it had a great park for our one year old.  We visited the park often, met lots of nice people and often commented that it would be great to live here. A few months later we got lucky again and bought our first home in the Fairlington Mews.

Over the past seven years we have developed close relationships with several of our neighbors. They, along with the neighbors who are more transient, have always been friendly, considerate, and understanding of our two boys playing in the courtyard. Our boys have loved growing up in this community. We spend many hours at our park, pool, and tennis courts. They have always been able to find playmates wherever we go.

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