Previously published in Your Sanibel.
Spring Has Sprung Early on Sanibel and Captiva Island!
In fact, February of 2018 was the warmest ever recorded by the National Weather Service, with only two days where the high was below 80 degrees. The warmer days and higher humidity have contributed to an early spring this season.
Lawns are rejoicing with fresh green blades, as happy landscapes greet early spring with new growth and vibrant colorful blooms. Our landscapes will be graced with Spring color well before the actual first day of Spring on March 20th!
Getting into the Spring Spirit? Good! Here are a few ways to invite Spring into your garden annually.
SPRING IT ON!
1. Get Inspired!
Bike around your neighborhood or through a SCCF nature trail for inspiration on tropical bloomers and native perennials to incorporate into your garden. Sanibel is currently inundated with bougainvillea blooms! What’s that smell?? Blooming citrus trees, gardenias, star and confederate Jasmines, and native Jamaican capers! Many of the plants found can be sourced locally at garden centers, or ask your landscape professional for help.
2. Clean It Up
It’s time for a Spring cleaning of your landscape! Remove debris from fallen leaves and fronds and set aside for mulching or compost in the yard. A layer of organic matter helps to hold moisture for plants, stabilizes the sandy soils from erosion possible in heavy summer rains, and adds nutrients back to the soil for health plant growth.
Pull any new weeds that have emerged due to the warm weather; one weed pulled now could save hours of weeding during summer months. Inspect the irrigation system to replace damaged heads and repair clogs in the system.
3. Bring In New Color
Embrace the early Spring by adding colorful bloomers to your landscape. Cool season annuals like geraniums, impatients, and sunpatients can be substituted with pentas, cannas, vinca, begonias and caladiums. Many tropical and blooming species like heliconias, gingers, cannas, tropical hydrangea and tibouchinas have better establishment rates when planted in warmer temps and higher humidity levels than when planting in the fall. Note: New planting areas may need to be amended with a mixture of organic topsoil prior to plant installation.
4. Contain Your Excitement
Container planters, garden arbors, and container water features can add instant color and excitement to your Spring garden. Blooming plantings will capture attention in colorful containers. Vines such as mandevilla, blue sky vine, and confederate jasmine will climb and soften the garden arbor. Trickling water from a colorful container will not only calm the senses, it also entices pollinators like birds and bees into the garden.
5. Eat Your Veggies
Wondering what vegetables and herbs grow great in the warm season? Basil, chives, dill, rosemary, thyme, snap beans, sweet potatoes, bell and hot peppers and watermelon do well in raised planters filled with a mixture of nutrient rich organic soils, and peat and organic compost.
Why the raised planters? Planting vegetables directly in our sandy, high pH Sanibel soils simply will not yield good results. Plus, elevated planting beds helps keep your new salad bar out of the reach of rabbits!
An early growing season this Spring means that Summer maintenance efforts will also start earlier this year. For residents headed north this Summer, now is the time to meet with your landscape professional to discuss a maintenance program in preparation for the Summer growing season.