Cleanup, garden prep time is now

By Wayne Bryan Originally Published March 3, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated March 1, 2013 at 11:39 a.m.
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Garvan Woodland Gardens

Bob Byers, landscape architect and associated executive director of Garvan Woodland Gardens, stops to examine a field of daffodils in bloom at the botanical gardens in Hot Springs. Byers says March will be a busy month for gardeners in Arkansas as they plant petunias, ferns and other cold-tolerant flowers early in the month, before placing impatiens and other summer flowers at the end of the month.

If all you have been doing in your yard since the beginning of the year is cleaning up from the Christmas storm, experts from the region said it is time to finish the cleanup and move on to trimming and planting for spring.

First, there may not be any broken limbs lying in your yard, but it might be time to get back out with a saw and tend to the trees that suffered the most damage.

Jim Robbins, the horticulture specialist for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension

Service, has said it is time to tend to the wounds of your trees.

“I hope by now you have been cleaning up most of the broken branches, but you

need to have nice clean wounds. That’s what’s most important,” he said in information on the Extension Service website.

Working in the snow, ice and cold immediately after the storm, gardeners could have been in a hurry. Robbins said some cleanup is best for the trees.

‘If you leave a little bit of a stub, it tends to decay, and that would go back into the heartwood of the tree and can lead to more decay on the inside,” he said.

Bob Byers, associate executive director at Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, said his work crews have finished the storm cleanup at the gardens.

“We wrapped up all we were going to do on Tuesday,” said Byers, a landscape architect. “Of course, in the forest, we just let nature take its course for the most part. We will be preparing for summer through much of March.”

While the daffodils are in full bloom around the gardens, Byers said, work crews are planting flowers and shrubs that can tolerate any remaining colder weather.

“We are putting in petunias and the copper plant, a shrub with bronze and pink variegated leaves,” he said. “Next will be some of the summer flowers like impatiens, coleus and Joseph’s coat.”

To find daffodils in Malvern, drive by the yard of Vonda Cranford on Babcock Road for a colorful display that attracts the neighbors every spring, and even visitors from out of town.

Cranford and her husband, James, have planted and raised hundreds of daffodils on their property, stretching from the roadside in front of their house into the small woods they have cleared. Their land is a gardener’s encyclopedia of genus Narcissus, which includes daffodils and jonquils in warm tones of yellow with traces of white and orange.

“This year, we are planting Peruvian white daffodils,” she said. “They will bloom more in the summer.”

“Also new to the yard this year are lilacs,” Cranford said. “I’ve not had lilacs, and I am looking for a shaded area for them.”

As successful as she is with her gardening, she said she is taking a risk with gladiolus.

“I’ve not had much luck with glads before,” Cranford said. “I need to find a new place.”

The Cranford trees did not go untouched in the December storm. She said a large tree fell on a magnolia tree and broke it down.

Byers said it is still a good time to put in trees. He also recommends a native tree known as Grancy Greybeard, or fringe tree.

“I also like to recommend the serviceberry tree,” Byers said. “It has lots of white flowers in the spring, fruit for the birds in the summer, and it looks nice in the fall.”

Byers also said it is almost too late to trim crape myrtles.

“But I think they are best left alone,” he said.

Staff writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at (501) 244-4460


Tri-Lakes Edition Writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at 501-244-4460 or

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