Download Our Garden Handbook

Monthly Tips

"We love it - especially the water feature."

- Ms. W
Sign Me Up!


Make your thumb even greener. Follow some Classic Tips.


Is it hard to know when to divide the daylilies? Prune the paeony or trim the taxus? Sign up for our email Garden Tips and you'll get a monthly reminder about what's happening in your garden and what you need to do about it. (Don't want to do anything about it? Ouch. Better see our Landscape Care section!)

To receive the "Monthly Gardening Tip" just fill out the form above. Note: We are unable to send the "Monthly Gardening Tip" via an email attachment to some ISP's. If you asked for, but aren't getting it, either find a surly and jaded teenager to reconfigure your computer or simply send a self-addressed stamped envelope to receive "snail mail."

Tips for March

Perennials, Annuals and Vegetables: It feels like spring! Days are getting longer and the garden is starting to come alive after its winter rest. The Pacific NW is a gardener’s paradise (because of our warm wet springs compared to other parts of the country). March is a great month to get going on perennials! Our nursery staff has been searching out worthwhile new varieties and stocking up on old time favorites.

Start seeds indoors! Nothing gives a gardener's pulse a jump-start like seeing the fresh green of new seedlings emerge. Sterile fine-grained seed starting mix breeds success more than garden dirt or coarse potting mixes. If you already have some early plants started from seed that you are ready to move to your garden, be sure to harden them off in a cold frame, bright corner of a cool basement or garage, or protected corner of the porch for a few days. Gradually getting them use to the temperature difference between indoors and outdoors is the key.

Deadhead Pansies and Daffodils as the flowers fade. Pansies will bloom into early summer regularly pinched. Daffodils produce more flowers year after year if kept from going to seed. Lift and divide overgrown clumps of perennials. Divide Hostas before they leaf out. If your daylilies or other fast growing bloomers didn’t bloom well last year, it’s a sure sign of overcrowding. Nowhere to plant more of that same old variety? Consider donating them to a local garden club. Then visit Classic Nursery and choose a new and exciting addition for your garden!
Set supports around emerging plants now, allowing natural growth up through them. Adding rigid supports afterwards is tricky and often results in unattractive unhealthy crowding. Wind string between hidden or decorative posts, allowing stems to grow up in the gaps between strings. Or try one of the sturdy ready-made supports available at the nursery.

Have you planted your peas yet? It's not too late! Be sure to use inoculant for the best production. Hardy vegetables can be direct-sown in the garden this month: varieties of broccoli, spinach, kale, radish, potato and onion (sets). Transplants of Swiss chard, lettuces and other salad greens can be set out this month as well, but may need to be kept under some kind of cover, cold frame or cloche, depending on temperatures in your microclimate. Check out our new line of Organic seeds by Irish Eyes and find your favorite vegetables to start off the season with.
Many customers think potatoes are difficult to grow but the real secret is just to avoid enriching soil with too much nitrogen. Plant in a mound or a fancy potato bin, but get them planted early, traditionally by St. Patrick’s Day. If you are an old hand at potato growing, try a new fingerling potato this year and save a pretty penny on colorful baby potatoes at the grocery store.


Trees, Shrubs and Fruit:

March is the last month to save on Bareroot Fruit Trees!!! 20% off while supplies last.

New shipment of Camellias have arrived!!!

This is a great time to plant trees and shrubs, too, and the selection at the nursery is rapidly growing (no pun intended). Nothing says spring like the sunny yellow branches of Forsythia. It's easy to overlook this old-fashioned shrub, but it is deer-proof, fire-wise and low-maintenance. Plant cultivars like 'Magical Gold' as a screen along drives and property boundaries.

Be ready to prune spring-blooming shrubs such as Lilacs and Rhododendrons right after they bloom as well and add Dr. Earth Rhododendron/Azalea fertilizer to the soil. Since next year’s blooms set on this year’s growth, you want to prune them before they set bud to shape them to the size you prefer and to promote healthy growth and flowering for next year.

Magnolias (plant of the month) have a special place in the hearts of many Pacific Northwesteners where we secretly long for large exotic blooms. The early-blooming Saucer Magnolias grow to be large trees and their big fleshy flowers are vulnerable to late winter weather. Consider Magnolia stellata, an eye-catching large shrub or small tree, for your garden. The cultivar ‘Royal Star’ has larger flowers that begin blossoming before leaves emerge and matures at 8-12ft. Or explore small related trees such as airy, fragrant Magnolia kobus and showy red-fruited Magnolia sieboldii for later spring blooms. Both are listed as Great Plant Picks.

General Tips
Beware: slugs are out in full force with these warmer, wetter days, and they love all those new leafy greens that are sprouting up in the garden! To keep those pests away, we recommend using “Sluggo” slug bait (not harmful to people, pets or wildlife). Novice gardeners often blame themselves. Perennials appear to have failed to return, but often slugs gobble new growth as it emerges. To see Sluggo is worth its weight in gold, watch how well plants respond following early season applications. Be a slug savvy gardener this year!
A word about mulch: You can lightly top dress new and existing plantings with mulch at this time of year, to help hold in moisture, equalize temperatures and feed the soil. However, dense thick winter mulches slow down the warming of the heavy unimproved soils, delaying growth and reducing the oxygen supply for the roots. If you applied a mulch layer of compost, you can instead just work it in to further amend and improve the soil.

Before plants start leafing and filling out into their spring wardrobe, give them their first feeding of the year. Dr. Earth All-Purpose Fertilizer will work well for most plantings. We carry organic fertilizers for every purpose as well as all the natural ingredients to make your own recipe or correct a soil deficit. Puget Sound area soils are quite acidic. Perk up plants such as lilac and peonies by scratching a little lime around their root zone. Drop by the nursery if you have any questions about nutrients or timing for particular plants.