Midday Fix: Spring garden tips from Chalet Nursery’s Tony Fulmer

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Tony Fulmer

25 Cool Garden Ideas You May Not Know
Thursday, March 20
11:00 a.m.
Chicago Flower and Garden Show
Navy Pier


Chalet Landscape, Nursery & Garden Center
3132 Lake Avenue

Tony’s Tips:

Get the plant or plants you’re re-potting. Fill the container they’re going into with soil until you get within a few inches of the top. Then pull the plant out of the pot, place the pot in the desired final container. Fill all around the empty pot with soil, tamp to firm. Slide the empty pot out gently and replace with the root ball of the plant you’re transplanting. Firm the soil again and water. It’s really a better way to re-pot, especially when you have plants that rest on the ground and sprawl. Much faster and less potential damage to the plants.

Aggressive Plants:
There are a lot of great garden plants that have desirable characteristics, but are invasive. A couple of great examples of plants that can bully their way around the garden are the mints or Beebalm. They take off and even a small section of root becomes a new plant. One way to control garden “thugs” is to get a large 5-gallon plastic nursery pot and cut the bottom out of it. Sink that pot in the garden, but leave the top 1-2” lip above the surrounding soil. Place the desired plant in the pot. That will contain the root system and slow the spread dramatically. In a few years when the pot is plant-full dig the pot up, pull the plant apart and start all over again.

Gardening is like cooking — having the right tools can make the difference between making a job quick and easy, or long and tedious. I wouldn’t be without hand rakes for my garden. They help you pick up mulch, weeds, grass, just about anything, in a fraction of the time that it would take with your bare hands.

Green Tip:
Roses have a reputation for being garden plants that you have to spray for fungus, like blackspot. One of the things you may want to consider is using sulphur, a naturally occurring element, that happens to have fungicide-suppressing properties. So, in April after you’ve removed the winter protection, pruned your roses back and done your spring cleanup, consider applying a half cup of sulphur on the ground under the drip line to reduce blackspot. Then you can put your mulch over the top of the sulphur. That, along with watering your roses from below, rather than over the top, should make a big difference in the amount of blackspot your roses experience during the growing season.

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