While the weather can be unpredictable, March is ideal for planting many deciduous and evergreen trees. You’ll still want to wait until late April and early May before planting most perennials and summer annuals.
By getting a jump on the approaching warm weather, you will put less stress on your plants before they flush out with their new buds and leaves. Though many garden centers would have you believe otherwise, most trees prefer to be transplanted during the dormant season. We also receive a large amount of rainfall every spring, so planting your trees on the early lets Mother Nature help you with your watering needs.
If the structure of a deciduous tree or shrub looks good now, just imagine how it will enhance your landscape once the leaves appear this spring. Remember, you’re investing in a healthy root system; in other words, the underground parts that you don’t see are as important as what you do see.
Before you plant, take several photos of what your landscape looks like now. Ask yourself what you like about your garden and note the changes you would like to make. Make notes too about holes in your landscape where the addition of a shrub or tree would make a difference. Consider not only shrubs and trees but perennials that will complement them. Utilizing an experienced landscape contractor will insure the proper textures and combinations for your new garden.
This is also a good time to evaluate your hardscapes including paths, edging for planting areas, patios, walls, and fences. An effective way to tie your garden to your home is to use like materials your house is constructed of – brick, stone or wood.
Here are a few combinations of shrubs, trees and perennials that make good garden bedfellows. Note that many of these perennials cannot be planted until the weather becomes consistently warmer:
1. Mophead hydrangeas and perennial Carex ‘Evergold’ as a groundcover. Hellebores also make a good groundcover for hydrangeas.
2. Dogwoods with hydrangeas and Japanese plum yew (Cephalotaxus harringtonia var. prostrata) as an evergreen groundcover.
3. Oakleaf hydrangeas with white flowers and white Japanese roof iris, (Iris tectorum ‘Alba’) in part-shade for good evergreen foliage contrasted with white flowers.
4. Camellias with Coral bells (Heuchera) planted in front.
5. Japanese maples under-planted with sedum (Sedum tetractinum), an evergreen groundcover that hugs the ground.
6. Limelight Hydrangea, Russian Sage, dwarf Crape Myrtle and coneflowers for summer color.