Warm temperatures and adequate moisture have resulted in lush plant growth. The gardens change daily, with new blooms dotting the landscape every time I take a garden walk. The gardens are so beautiful that it is hard for me to concentrate on working in the gardens. I get caught up in watching the flowers, butterflies, birds and other wildlife and forget that there are weeds that should be pulled, grass to mow and beds that need mulch. I confess that I spend a lot time just marveling at the beauty of creation.

There are a lot of garden chores that need to be done now. The daffodil foliage is dying down and may be cut back. However, if you have planted other perennials in the same area, those plants may be benefitting from that fallen foliage, which acts as a mulch, conserving soil moisture and inhibiting weed growth. If the missing daffodils leave holes in your landscape, you may have a couple of solutions. You may plant seeds for annuals, but it will take a while for the seeds to germinate. If you have some bedding plants on hand, you may also plant them in these areas, being careful not to dig down to the level of the daffodil bulbs. They will fill in much more quickly than the seeds. The other possibility is to place planters in the empty spaces.

Planters are very versatile. I have been carrying houseplants out for the summer, and many of them need to be divided or cut back. The cuttings may be rooted for more plants and the divisions are ready to be potted. Mix several plants that need the same conditions to create a pot with high interest. Sometimes, I will leave some places to put in decorations. You may fashion a pot into a fairy garden. Such bits of whimsy create interest and may encourage children to spend time in the garden. The “Thriller, Filler, Spiller” recipe for pots is still a great solution. You may even mix houseplants with annuals or even perennials to fill the pots. Start with a thriller that gives some height. A snake plant, ornamental grass or a small tree may be used. Filler plants are those which give substance to the container and spillers are vining plants that spill over the sides. Those bits of wandering Jew and pothos that broke off when they were carried out of the house sill become the accent that completes a container garden.

It is also time for the Chelsea chop, and that may also yield plants to be used in containers. The tall sedums at Sandhill Gardens are already getting too tall, and may fall over. Chopping them back to about six inches tall may seem extreme, but the result will be a plant that is sturdier and less likely to splay. This will delay blooming a bit, but that means plants will be blooming in the fall when the monarchs are needing nectar for their trip south. Other plants that benefit from the chop include mums, daisies, rudbeckias, coneflowers and tall phlox. Many of the cuttings will take root in moist potting mix, resulting in more plants for containers, other spots in the garden and trading with friends.

It is also time to trim and shape the early-blooming shrubs. If you wait too long, you will be trimming off the buds for next spring’s flowers. Some of these trimmings may also be rooted and used in summer containers. This fall, you may plant them in the garden or give them to friends.

You may want to pot up some of the cuttings for the annual Sandhill Gardens Garden Swap, which will be held on Saturday, June 3 from 10 AM until noon. Bring plants, tools, garden décor, books and just about anything garden-related to trade with other gardeners. I hope to see you there.