Get out the rake and clearing away leaves and litter left over from last fall. Next, make a trip to your favorite gardening center or nursery to pick up some fertilizer. Team Leader Tali Estrada of Lowe’s Garden Center recommends you use “triple 16” fertilizer (16 percent each of nitrogen, phosphate and potash). “It’s not so harsh that you’ll burn your plants, but it’ll give them a good start,” he said. “Be sure to follow the directions on the bag.”
While you’re at the garden store, get some bark mulch to fill in those bare spots and beautify that drab porch or patio with some lovely Garden Spots – those round, clay-potted annuals available in myriad colors. Gina Lewis and her daughter Alexis were shopping at Lowe’s for some flowers to brighten their yard. “We need to replace a bunch of bushes that died,” Gina said.
Garden store and nursery experts pinpoint spring as a perfect time to plant replacement flowers, shrubs and evergreens that didn’t make it through the winter.
Valley Oak Nursery manager Ugeni said this part of the country is ideal for growing roses. “There are so many beautiful rose varieties, and they aren’t as hard to grow as most people think.” For gardening newbies, she suggests planting some geraniums. “They developed a junk-flower name with some older gardeners, but they’re coming back and, for folks just starting out, geraniums are colorful, hardy and growing them is easy.”
Need a pomegranate tree? Sal Zesata did and he found one he liked. He and his young boys Michael and Eric worked with Scotty Stout, an employee at Valley Oak Nursery, to pick just the right tree. “This is a nice place – they have a good selection,” Zesata said.
Ugeni had some good advice for spring gardeners when it comes to watering plants. “You want to wake them (plants) up in the early morning (5 a.m.) with a little shot of water; then follow that a few minutes later with a good soaking.” She believes plants and shrubs thrive when they’re watered in the early morning and get to drink their fill during the rest of the day. “They need to rest and sleep during the night just like we do,” she said.
If you’d like to know which trees, shrubs and plants grow best here in Brentwood, no one knows more about that issue than the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. After all, its staff plants and maintains all the beautiful landscaping that makes Brentwood look so great. If you’d like a list of recommendations, call the department at 925-516-5444 and ask for Barry Margesson, or e-mail him at email@example.com.