Spring in Santa Fe is always somewhat tumultuous. One week it is warm and sunny and we start to see the daffodils. Everyone starts to get ready to plant their gardens. Then, every year, we are hit with a wave of cold weather which changes everything. This year it has been cold, wet weather, which is the biggest blessing that we can ask for in our arid climate. These weather patterns often keep cycling through until mid May, which is our official last frost date.
This wonderful moisture has caused dormant plants to pop up everywhere. Now is the time, if you did not do it in the fall, to clean out your perennial beds. All brown leaves and stems should be cut back to make way for the green growth. Russian sage should be cut back to about half of its size, as should chamisa. Ornamental grasses should be cut to the ground but be careful not to cut the green tips growing up through the dried blades. Any organic matter that you left for mulch that you do not want to look at all season can be raked up. Gardens will benefit from a light fertilizing with Gro Power and a layer of compost mulch or pecan shells. This will make everything tidy so that you can enjoy your bulbs and the tender growth of your perennials.
This wonderful moisture has also pushed a big flush of weed sprouts and growth up. With the ground so wet this is your chance to get weeds and troublesome grass up by the roots so that they will not bother you for the rest of the year.
Of course, this time of spring, no matter what the weather, is a wonderful time to plan your April perennial plantings, hardscaping, and drip irrigation changes. Meanwhile enjoy the wonderful daffodils and crocus around town, they are always such a welcoming sight after months without flowers.
by Kendall McCumber