Documents: Latest From: The Real Dirt:

Spring Planting Starts Right Now!
by Art Drysdale
by Art Drysdale


Art Drysdale, a life-long resident of Toronto and a horticulturist well known all across Canada, is now a resident of Parksville, British Columbia on Vancouver Island, just north of Nanaimo. He has reno-vated an old home and has a new garden there. His radio gardening vignettes are heard in south-western Ontario over radio station Easy 101 FM out of Tillsonburg at 2 PM weekdays.

Art also has his own website at

April 19, 1998

From now until mid-June, the real busy planting season is upon us.

If one takes into consideration all the plants it is possible to plant in an outdoor garden, there are virtually none that cannot be successfully planted now.

Exceptions are a few seasonal items such as Spring-flowering bulbs, which must be planted the previous autumn! Evergreen trees such as spruce, fir and pine; smaller evergreens like junipers, cedars and yews; shade trees (those such as maples and birch which lose their leaves each Autumn) including ash, oaks, and beech; as well as the smaller ornamental trees, of which the flowering crabapples and cherries are the best known, are all available and early spring--now--is the time to get them planted. Most people plant shade trees in their front or back gardens for beautification or to shade a patio or deck area.

There are, however, a number of considerations.

Deciduous trees are excellent temperature controllers for homes because they cool in summer, but allow winter sun to pass through. Properly placed, three trees around a house can cut air conditioning needs by ten to 50 percent. In addition to their ability to cool our buildings, and the environment generally, trees and other landscape plants are also effective air purifiers.

In fact, they are the cheapest and most efficient air purifiers on earth.

One of the major concerns about our environment currently is the increase in CO2. Energy use is the single greatest contributor to CO2 build-up. As the world's people continue to use more and more energy, countries must burn increasing amounts of fuel to meet the need. In 1987, global consumption of fuel resulted in the release of 5.6 billion tons of CO2 into the air. This fact alone gives us special reasons to participate in solutions such as planting trees.

Trees are especially valuable in cities.

Urban "heat islands," caused by expanses of concrete and pavement such as parking lots, can be as much as ten degrees hotter than surrounding areas. The shade that trees provide breaks up the heat islands and cuts energy needs as well as costs. In fact, the shading and cooling effect of just one tree indirectly reduces CO2 emissions close to 15 times the amount that one tree can process.

So, it's obviously to your advantage to plant trees around your home, whether it is in a new subdivision, or an established neighbourhood.

And, now is the best time to visit your favourite garden centre, talk to the experts, and select just the right trees for your garden. While the planting season has been lengthened over the past few decades, through use of containers, still the best time for planting is early spring.

The list is not just evergreens and trees! What would you like to grow?

How about a hedge to screen out that eyesore your neighbour calls his "yard?" A vine may be all you need to beautify what otherwise is a dull and plain wall on your own house.

While life isn't always a bed of roses, your garden can be.

Roses give you impressive, lasting flowers right from mid-June to mid-October, and often even into November.

Deciduous flowering and foliage shrubs are still another answer to creating a private enclave in your own back garden--and doing it in just a few years, not a decade or more. Garden centres have a wide selection of these plants; for example, lilacs for Spring bloom; false spiraea for mid-summer flowering; rose of Sharon for August; silverleaf and yellowtwig dogwood for coloured, variegated foliage the entire growing season; and serviceberries and viburnums for bright autumn berries.

Now's the time to plant pansies and violas for early colour in flower boxes and other containers, as well as in ground-level flower beds. Planted now, they will have no difficulty overcoming any light frosts we have between now and the "official" planting-out date for annual flowers (and vegetables) of May 24. So, you'll get a full month of bright colour of your choice. And, you may leave the pansies and violas in right through most of the summer, provided you remove most of the spent flowers every other day. Or, leave them in until your May 24th-planted annuals gain size and plenty of bloom! by Art C. Drysdale, 6 Nesbitt Drive, Toronto, Ontario M4W 2G3 Art Drysdale is seen daily on Canada's Weather Network at 23 minutes past each hour with a two-minute gardening tip, and heard Saturdays from 8 to 10 am, with a live two-hour radio broadcast on Toronto's TALK640 (640 on the AM dial). this is the end

  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row