Time to get back in the yard

"Fortunately, this winter there was a good covering of snow to protect the plants while not too much driveway shovelling was required..."

I always dread the onset of winter. When it’s over though and spring arrives in the Kootenays again, I usually find myself thinking, “Whew, I guess that wasn’t so bad after all!.”

Fortunately, this winter there was a good covering of snow to protect the plants while not too much driveway shovelling was required Double bonus, the weather wasn’t too cold for too long.

Now I’m really looking forward to getting my hands in the earth and soaking up the sunshine again.

There’s been just enough dry days lately to get back out into the yard and start cleaning up. First thing on the agenda is to remove the leaves covering the ground from late fall. This will ensure any pests lurking beneath are removed and allow me to start loosening the soil.

Once the bull work is done and the beds are cleaned, weeded and tilled, I’ll be able to add some compost around the base of the plants to feed them lots of nutrients for the coming season. I know this is the drudgery of our passion. It will, however, reward us with gardens that  flourish and provide us with healthier plants and more blooms.

For those of us fortunate to have  no snow, now’s a good time to get some pruning done, while the shrubs and trees are still dormant. Maintenance pruning can be used to train a plant, remove damage, control height and spread and encourage more fruits and flowers.


I’ve shared the basics of pruning before but feel a quick review might be valuable:

• remove branches that cross, grow towards the centre and are dead, diseased or damaged.

• make all cuts clean and smooth, avoid tearing the bark; this can cause slower healing and increase the possibility of disease.

• and most importantly cut right back to the lateral branch – don’t leave stubs; these are where die back usually happens.

• when pruning to shape, don’t remove more than 1/3 of the plant

• prune spring-flowering trees and shrubs right after they bloom

•prune summer blooming trees and shrubs in late winter/early spring


I’m pleased my garden partner, Betty Drover will be sharing the column with me again this year. We’re happy to answer any questions and look forward to hearing about your garden successes. Just drop a line to 1490 Fifth Avenue, Trail  or email us at: psiddall@telus.net.

Now that I have covered our weekly garden topics, I’d like to give a special shout out to my 1966 JL CROWE grad classmates. We’re joining the ranks of Senior Citizens by celebrating our 65th birthdays in 2013! It’s a wonderful time of life.

Most of us have a bit of extra time now to pursue our hobbies and  with fewer business obligations, I should have a lot more time for gardening.

Hope you do too!

I will be back again in a few weeks and when we meet again, I hope to clear up any confusion about pruning clematis. In the meantime – Happy Gardening!

Patty Siddall and Betty Drover operate a local garden business and will share their expertise in the Trail Times every other Friday. Contact Siddall Drover Garden Services at 250-364-1005