What's Coming Up 177: Work with clay, keep clipping, stakes, I.D. weeds

Advice for sticky clay and stakes that stay, with lots of interactive cuts



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What's Coming Up #86, the Master Guide to Pruning Shrubs!


It's everything-needs-doing-at-once week. It's exhilarating and exhausting to try to keep up with Ma Nature's rush. We help you prioritize, so you also have time to simply enjoy the exuberance.

What's coming up this week

Top stories of plants and procedures.

When it's time to turn the soil

Have a care with shovel and tiller in spring to avoid ruining the soil's condition. If the soil will ball in your hand but then crumble when you poke it, it's perfect. Yet even if it's too early, too wet you can advance your garden's cause. Read When we dig clay


What's this? Did I plant this?

It's not you, it's all of us -- we don't recognize in spring what we planted last year. To make matters worse, weeds with an attitude are doing their best to convince us they belong. We hope you'll post the photos of your mysteries on the Forum so others can help you answer. Meanwhile, here are two mysteries you can solve with a click.

What's going on in Janet & Steven's gardens

Quick to-do list

Stakes from sticks

We're hurrying to cut down and plants are rushing to come up. Clippings from one can support the other. Twigs, sprigs and other ways to stake those floppy plants unobtrusively at low cost.

Green thumbs up and down

Being a tough cut

Applauding the brave cuts, boo-hissing the diseases that debilitate older stems of woody plants. Lots of photos to guide you in cutting hard for healthy, beautiful evergreen herbs and roses.


Tip cuttings

What's of special interest on the Forum

Spotlight, all light, on seedlings

Starting flowers and vegetables indoors? Get lights and snug 'em right down on the seedlings.


Prune a privet yet maintain privacy

When the hedge is top heavy, hard pruning brings the foliage back down to where it's needed. But oh, it's hard to give up that screen, even briefly and thin though it may be! Look at this in-progress cut to keep the privacy while renewing the privet.


Forsooth, forsythia's color is intense

When color comes early, you may wonder if that forsythia's glowing more golden, quince redder, redbud more fluorescent. You aren't seeing things. It's a fact of chemistry. Cool weather can make spring color more saturated... and can also dull a few summer bloomers!


Cut clematis comes back

It looks like a bad dream in its straw-like tangle yet we're afraid to cut it lest we lose the bloom. Fortify yourself with photos of what comes next so you can refresh your clematis' look and renew its vigor.


Designers translate Tuscany

Seeking the Mediterranean look? Here's an interesting, ongoing discussion about capturing those plants and designs for the American Midwest.


Rose of Sharon will rise from stubs

Have no fear, these shrubs grow like weeds and bloom on new wood so cut quick to take advantage of the spring surge of growth. Look at the cut.

Our Mentors say...

We are never alone in the garden, for the gardening advice that came to us from a parent, neighbor or other veteran gardener grows on.

Scatter seeds, quietly

Seed and a gardener wield the power of surprise.

The 45 mph garden

It's catching driver's eyes and raising questions this week.

Speedy shrubs on tour

When it happens so fast we miss some of the show. Steven takes you on tour, you set the speed!

Aiming for answers: Hit or Miss

"What happened next" from previous articles. Celebrating the hits, updating the misses.

A Hit: Willow's twisted roots

To help you in your decision to move a new plant that's not doing so well, here's a look back and report forward on a tree 10 years in a bad place, its much needed replanting, and full recovery.

A Hit: Houseplant's spring rush

We told you to resume fertilizing houseplants in March, and start then to cut back and repot because that's when they resume growing. A reader says "Wow, you weren't kidding!"


Laughing together to salve problems that have no solution.

Confident weeds vs. tentative gardener

It's more than a visual thing. Weeds play mind games, too, giving off mental waves that say, "Certainly I belong here." Tips to help you beat these cunning interlopers.

Your feedback

Where did that article go? Gang way, we're spring cleaning!

Looking for something you saw a week ago in our What's Up news? It's still on the site but may have moved when we stashed the winter topics from Issues 167 - 173 to make way for spring. Do a Search for a key word or go to Ensemble Weekly Editions, select Winter or Late Winter and click from the index of any issue.

All feedback always appreciated

Drop us an email or give us a call to tell us what worked and what didn't in this newsletter or in our gardening advice. You won't hurt our feelings. We aim to grow and that means we celebrate the highs but also remember to learn from the lows.