A Note From Rick | Spring Flower Show

April 20, 2023

By Rick Bogusch

Bridge Gardens

April is certainly the month for daffodils. When you’re not finishing up March’s old business and starting on that long list of this month’s chores, you can enjoy the many varieties, types, and color combinations of this foolproof sentinel of spring from March through May. It may not be native, but it is deer- and vole-resistant, a food source for pollinators, and so easy to plant and grow.

After finishing our edging and mulching projects, we’ve turned our attention to fertilizing and weeding, lots of weeding, because so many survived the warm winter.

Weeding is perhaps the least favorite of gardening chores. Many gardeners are switching to natural habitat gardens so they don’t have to weed, unless they want to control the many invasive non-natives planted by local wildlife. Vegetable gardens require weekly weeding, as do certain ornamental borders.

We try to work through the gardens here at least once a week throughout the growing season to keep annual weeds under control as well as hard-to-eradicate perennials like mugwort.

I’m ambivalent about weeding. Sometimes it’s tedious and takes me away from what may be more important activities. Other times, it’s meditative and calming or allows me to mull over whatever is on my mind while I get something done. Perhaps good advice is to be consistent and persistent, stick to a schedule, weed before plants flower and set seed and try not to let things get out of control.


Rick weeding the herb garden

Some common weeds you’ll likely encounter this spring are:

Lower-seeded bittercress (Cardamine oligosperma), a new introduction to the northeast from Eurasia. A member of the mustard family similar to shepherd’s purse, it joins other bittercresses in our beds and borders and pavers and lawns. Its tiny white flowers are in bloom right now, rising above a rosette of basal leaves. They soon become explosive pods that propel seeds all over, so it’s a good idea to pull them out as soon as you see them.


Lower-seeded bittercress

Lesser celandine (Ranunculus ficaria, aka Ficaria verna) is one of those weeds that are so impossible to eradicate, many give up trying. Another introduction from Eurasia, it was introduced because its numerous bright yellow flowers and shiny leaves are indeed a pretty sight after a long winter. Unfortunately, it is easily spread and can aggressively cover large areas, forming large colonies that can displace native spring wildflowers. Fortunately, like all spring ephemerals, flowers and leaves disappear by June and the plants go dormant until the following spring.


Lesser celandine, no flowers

Purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum), a non-aromatic member of the mint family, overwinters as a rosette of triangular, purple-tinged, gray-green leaves and opens its whorls of purple flowers in early spring. Similar in appearance to henbit, it’s flowers and leaves are showy, but can quickly overwhelm gardens, nurseries and paved areas.

The above are just 3 of the many weeds out there now and only a sampling of what’s to come.


Purple deadnettle

More fun than weeding is planting. And now is the time to sow seeds like peas, beets, lettuce and carrots in the vegetable garden and to plant seedlings of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, leeks, and onions. It’s also time to sow seeds indoors of summer vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants and peppers for planting at the end of May or early June.

There’s so much to do this time of year, it’s hard to know what to do first. But I hope you take some time off from your many gardening activities to visit Bridge Gardens and see what’s happening here.

Happy Spring!

~~ Rick

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