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Published February 26th, 2014
Cynthia Brian's Gardening Guide for March
By Cynthia Brian
Cymbidiums will rebloom when placed outdoors in a northeast location, or buy these orchids in bud at local outlets. Photo Cynthia Brian

"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade." - Charles Dickens,
Wake up! The days are getting longer and warmer. Nature is stretching and coming out of its winter slumber. Our flowerbeds are beckoning. The fruit tree buds are bursting with color (some a bit too early) while daffodils and tulips carpet the terrain. Soon it will be springtime when the season of outdoor chores officially begins. Even with the six inches of rain of mid-February, a drought is imminent. Be water conscious and conservative. March is the month to aerate, dethatch, reseed, replant, or replace lawns. With water consumption as a major issue of all lawns, consider planting less thirsty turf such as Buffalograss, fescues, zoysia grass, or Bhaia grass as alternatives. St. Patrick's Day reminds us that green is the color of the month as we hope for the greening of our landscapes and hillsides.

- CHECK out Renee's Garden online catalogue for the best seeds from their trial gardens. I'm experimenting with their Scatter Garden Canisters and will plant the
cover crop mix this summer. Visit www.reneesgarden.com.
- SAVE rain water by positioning wine barrels or garbage cans under drain spouts. Use a hose to water garden. Don't use roof water for edibles.
- ENRICH your soil by making your own compost utilizing kitchen scraps, lawn clippings, shredded leaves, coffee grinds, and other plant matter. Spread a layer of
two inches to improve your soil, maintain moisture, deter weeds, and feed your plants.
- LOOK for bird nests in low hedges and under shrubs before pruning or trimming. Most nests are hidden and this is the time that moms are laying eggs.
- BUY in bloom cool-growing cymbidium orchids native to the subtropical highlands of Southeast Asia. After the last flower dies, cut the spike to the base. Cymbidiums
will re-bloom the following year when kept in cool temperatures with bright light.
- SOW a number of diverse species of nectar rich plants that will bloom at different times of the year to attract bees to work and pollinate. Suggestions include aster,
cosmos, gilia, linaria, nepeta, tithonia, monarda, coreopsis, lantana, and lavender.
- EXPERIMENT with growing your own gourmet mushrooms at home. Check out the five-pound bag selections priced at $29.95 each at www.sowtrueseed.com
and start enjoying ready-to-fruit inoculated varieties of pearl oyster, lion's mane, red reishi, and shitake.
- WARD off cancer by planting and consuming parsley, artichokes, blueberries, bok choy, broccoli, kale, lemons, strawberries, red grapes, and
- AERATE lawns and leave the plugs on the grass to feed the soil. It's best to do this when nights are still dewy as warmer climate dehydrates
the plugs.
- SPRINKLE laundry detergent on mushrooms to eliminate the fungi.
- WANT instant no fuss made raised beds? Buy galvanized steel tubs meant as horse or cow troughs. Add rocks as drainage, good potting soil, plant. Voila! You won't have to worry about gopher invasions and these troughs will save on water.
- PICK up a pot of shamrocks, also known as oxalis, and get your Irish on. Oxalis blooms in yellow, pink, and white and can be invasive if let loose in he landscape.
- PLANT sweet peas, flowering shrubs, dianthus, pansies, and leafy greens.
- RECYCLE bricks, rocks, and pavers to keep your landscaping budget in check.
- MIX your coffee grinds and tea leaves in water to give acid loving plants a jolt of energy. Azaleas, rhododendrons, roses, fuchsias, camellias, and gardenias enjoy a sip of java.
- HARVEST tangerines, lemons, and oranges that have not been frost bitten for an extra boost of vitamin C to fight off the flu.
- CUT sprigs of purple lilac vine (Hardenbergia violaceae) for indoor enjoyment. This vine is grows well on fences and screens.
- SALVAGE household items that you don't want any more and repurpose them for the garden. Old doors can be made into screens, a metal chair can become a trellis for a vine, paint a dresser to use as a potting bench. Be creative.
- DOWNLOAD garden apps. These recommended apps range in price from $0.99-$4.99 are available from the iTunes store: Armitage's Greatest Perennials and Annuals; Foolproof Plants for Small Gardens; and Purdue Tree Doctor.
- CHECK that all of your tools are sharpened, cleaned, and ready to get to work.
- ADMIRE the bark on trees even as the leaves unfurl.
- VISIT the Ruth Bancroft Gardens in Walnut Creek, a premier dry garden of water conserving specimens specializing in succulents, agaves, aloes, cactus, and a collection of plants from around the world that thrive with minimal irrigation. Tours, events, seminars, music, sculpture, and history are offered. www.ruthbancroftgarden.org.

Keep doing your personal rain dance. Be green with garden envy by getting your landscape ready for a beautiful rebirth.
Happy Gardening. Happy Growing.

Cynthia Brian
The Goddess Gardener
Cynthia is available as a speaker and consultant.

Don't forage for mushrooms unless you are an expert! Buy. Photos Cynthia Brian
A bright, colorful bloomer is the purple lilac vine (Hardenbergia violaceae) which is great on fences.
Cynthia Brian

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