BILOWZ ASSOCIATES INC. is an award winning landscape architectural design firm with a proven philosophy: "Creating Design with Harmony & Balance."
Our company blog, Annie's Gardening Corner, takes a sneak peek at how we balance our own love for everything green + a place to find inspiration, garden ideas and landscape design tips.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

What’s Waking Up in Your Garden?

The morning sun is stretching its rays wide, generating warmth more typical of June. It’s hard to fathom we are just hours before Spring Equinox kicks into gear when our plants, trees and shrubs should slowly be awakening rather than busting in bloom. So what’s waking up in your garden? Our garlic is starting to appear under its winter mulch and the apricot trees shall bloom before the end of the week! But then again, it wasn’t much of a winter. But is this good?

When speaking with a local apple expert this weekend, if these patterns don’t slow down a bit and this rapid growth cycle continues, our apples may be applesauce this year. Take the well-known McIntosh variety. To be picking these apples in mid-August rather than September is not good. Here’s why. The change in temperature and daylight during the latter part of August and beginning of September initiate the red pigment formation in the skin along with this apple’s increased sugar content. The disastrous end result – green McIntosh apples looking more like a Granny Smith. And what’s worse, the fruit will fall off the tree before it changes to its nice red, barely green shade. With this year’s growing season already advanced, if we don’t see moisture, cool temperatures, even a bit of snow, (dare I say it) we may be seeing many things in the plant world doing weird things!

So pay attention to what’s waking up in your garden but before calling it a wrap, here’s another quick tip: Dormant oil applications are a good idea right now. If the temperatures continue in this heated pattern, insect pressure may be extremely high this year. Multiple oil applications timed correctly can decrease your insecticide requirements throughout the season. NOTE: Do not apply dormant oils if freezing temperatures are predicted within 48 hours of application.

It’s time to sign off now and enjoy this beautiful Monday in March. But we cannot leave out the quote of the day and Benjamin Franklin’s words resonate as the perfect segue. “Life’s tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late.” Hmmm; when it comes to the garden, we may not be able to control the weather but we can pay attention. Yes, become wise before it's too late.

Image of garlic sprouting underneath its winter mulch by Ann Bilowz

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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)