Photo by Sandy Cortez

Photo by Sandy Cortez

Get It Growing: May is time to get out in the garden!

The Clallam County Master Gardeners are disappointed to have to postpone the Spring Plant Sale. It is an annual fund raising event that they enjoy sharing with the public every year. Keep your eye out for a probable “Get Ready for Fall Plant Sale” in late August, date TBA.

But not all is lost; read on for ways to make the most of what your garden has to offer.

On these lovely spring days as you walk through your yard and garden, notice plants that look crowded or did not flower and flourish well last season. The days are longer and the sun is warm. The soil has become workable and the plants are identifiable as they unfold. It might be time to dig and divide, or even remove and replace.

Dividing perennials every few years is a good way to rejuvenate plants and control their size, and a great way to fill in other areas of your garden.

Put some in pots on the deck, along the front walkway or give to a neighbor.

Start by digging your shovel in around the plant’s natural drip line, cleanly severing any roots. Cut in under and around the plant at an angle until the clump can be lifted out of the hole.

Then cut the clump in half or quarters with a sharp tool. Smaller sections will produce the best growth and stronger blooms. Remove any dry, dead or unhealthy looking parts.

Consider whether the growing conditions are appropriate where the new plant is to be moved. A shade plant will burn if moved to a sunny location. A sun-loving plant will produce fewer blooms and leggy stems in a shaded spot.

Check that the new hole or pot is large enough to accommodate. As you replant your sections, be sure the roots are pointing down, in its natural flow for vigorous growth. Give all new transplants a thorough watering.

The list of plants that can be easily divided in spring is long. A few examples of plants to divide every 2 or 3 years are coreopsis, chrysanthemums, delphiniums and yarrow.

Plants that appreciate a division every 3 or 4 years include black-eyed susan, blanket flower, hosta and purple coneflower. Salvia likes to grow for 5 or 6 years before dividing. Watch plants such as bee balm and sedums, they are easy to divide but can spread quickly.

Community gardens

Many of the plants offered at Master Gardener plant sales are those dug and divided at the beautiful Woodcock Demonstration Garden.

For inspiration, once the Governor’s “Stay Home — Stay Healthy” order has been relaxed, consider a visit to the Clallam County Master Gardeners’ demonstration garden located at 2711 Woodcock Road.

This garden grows an array of perennial plants from dahlias to succulents, flowering shrubs to ornamental grasses, vegetable beds to herb gardens.

Also on display, you can see several kinds of sweet berries and a beautiful apple orchard.

The 5th Street Community Garden, just west of Peabody Street in Port Angeles, is also supported by the Master Gardeners. This garden provides vegetable plots for community members to rent, as well as space for Master Gardener volunteers to tend for public educational tours and to share their bounty with the local food bank.

JoAnn VanAken is a certified WSU Master Gardener who co-manages the potting shed at the Woodcock Demonstration Garden.

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