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April 14, 2021 -The April Garden and Lessons on Overwintering Perennials.

Updated: May 5, 2021

April is perhaps the best Spring month in Georgia. Just in a few days, all the naked branches of oak trees, hickory trees, and tulip trees are full of fresh green leaves. They start casting long shadows onto the woodland area.


We have mowed the Cover Crops there last month. The crops now look nice and clean, and we will see how long they can last with the decreasing sunlight and increasing temperatures in the woods. The effect of combatting soil erosion is amazing. Even with a series of storms, our pond water stays clean. We no longer see the mud being flushed down the hills.


Fruit trees start showing good results from having bees around. We have counted 16 peach nuggets growing from the young Dwarf Peachtree that we bought last year from HomeDepot. Bumblebees are constantly patrolling around the Blueberry bushes. More solitary bees have moved into our bee houses. The Hairy Vetch flowers and Daikon flowers have attracted a lot of them in early spring when there were so few flowers around in the cities. Another bonus of planting these winter crops.


Georgia Peach Tree -zone 7-self pollinated fruit tree
Peaches are forming :)

Bamboo shoots are growing at an eye-opening speed with at least 6 inches a day. We may be able to have our privacy screen ready just by summer. And for future years, we will just keep harvesting and eating the delicious bamboo shoots (P.S. Don't, don't plant bamboos in-ground unless you are mentally prepared for the consequence. Don't plant them in the ground even if you think you are prepared. )!


Hummingbirds reappeared at the beginning of April. Our feeder is conveniently right next to a fully bloomed Autumn Sage. Besides Azaleas and autumn sage, most of our nectar-filled flowers are not bloomed yet, we would need to get more flowers to fill this gap. Our goal is to supply abundant food for wildlife friends all year long.


Autumn Sage (Salvia Greggii), zone 7 evergreen flower -hummingbirds and bees friendly
Autumn Sage (Salvia Greggii) stays evergreen last winter and is one of the first perennial flowers to bloom

Yesterday, we even saw some fireflies in our neighborhood. Isn't it a bit too early? Maybe the gentle rains at the beginning of April have brought enough food to the larvae in the soil. We have not fed our goldfish at all, and they all survived the entire season cycle in our pond. Millions of toad tadpoles are swimming jollily with more and more water plants waking up. They seem to be the best algae control. Zebra Rush was the first to send out new shoots from underwater. Cold Hardy water lilies followed. It took about three weeks later for us to finally see Lotus leaves appearing. The only plant that did not show up--just as it promised--was the tropical waterlily. I may have pushed them too far...after all, they are categorized in zone 9, while our pond was all frozen for a while. But, oh, the gorgeous Monet style of blue flowers is just irresistible!


wildlife pond with Japanese maple and irises
Our wildlife pond is waking up now.

As last year was the first winter for many of the plants in our garden, we were not certain how many could make it, especially the bog plants such as Elephant Ears, Canna Lily, Chinese Banana, and Mexican Petunia. Some of them are labeled as zone 8, and we are in zone 7b. Last winter, we cut the died back leaves and heavily mulched the entire bog area by our pond using leaf mold and hoped that our woodland garden would provide a warmer micro-environment. And it did! The Giant Leopard Plant was the only one that stays evergreen in our bog area. It lost a bit of shininess in the winter and now is growing vigorously big round and glossy new leaves.


The last lesson was Bougainvillea. We left the mother plant outdoor against the break wall last winter and hoped it could survive without being moved inside. We added a blanket to help keep it warm and it successfully lasted through multiple touches of frost until this February when we thought it made it and took away the blanket. It lost all its leaves after the very last surprise visit of frost. We have cut the branches all the way back and can only wish that it is just in a dormant status. The stems are still red, so we still have hope. On the other hand, we took some cuttings last fall and brought them into our cold greenhouse. The baby cuttings have new leaves already. If the mother plant does not revive, we would have to be more careful with the cuttings and keep them indoors every winter.


We will send updates if the mother plant comes back alive and Matt will owe me 50 bucks. Fingers crossed!





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