Get Ready for Spring!!!

It’s been a snowy and slippery season here in the Midwest! I hope you are being safe out there.

You know that salt does a great job at melting ice and snow, but it also hurts paws, corrodes concrete and asphalt, and damages your garden and lawn. And, at the end of the season when the snow melts, the salt gets carried away in the runoff, polluting waterways and sometimes, making wildlife sick.

Keep your family (including furry, four-legged family members) and environment safe with eco- and paw-friendly ice-melters. My favorites include Premiere Ice Melter, Safe Paw, Safe Step Sure Paws, and Safe Pet Ice Melter.

Speaking of snow and ice… if your front yard looks like mine, the idea of “curb appeal” may simply mean you can SEE your curb! Even though your front yard may be hidden under a blanket of snow, now is a great time to start thinking about your landscape’s curb appeal. Plan ahead so you can “spring” into action when the weather warms.

You’ll be glad to know that alluring curb appeal doesn’t require a complete overhaul or a huge outlay of cash. Small refreshers can make a big difference!

1. Stand at your curb and take a fresh look with a critical eye. What’s working? What’s tired? Ask an honest friend for a second opinion.
2. Focus on what can be removed. Are branches blocking your walkway? Overgrown hedges that could use a good trim, reshaped or removed? Worn-out or weedy pavers?
3. What can you add? Would a flowering tree jazz things up? A bench or reading nook? New pavers?
4. Integrate some pops of color—native plants, a bistro table and chairs, a new or newly-painted planter, maybe a walkway.
5. Feeling bold? Bigger changes—like a deck or patio or a redesigned landscape plan—can significantly amplify curb appeal.

Want to make your neighbors jealous? Need a few suggestions on how to incorporate year-round color and interest and hassle-free plants into YOUR front yard? Ready for a new patio or landscape design? From simple enrichments to full masterplans, Rainbow Garden Designs has fresh ideas for you. Please contact us at 630/257-0227 or info@rainbowgardendesigns.com.

February/March are great months to:

1) Plan your fruit and vegetable garden and start seeds indoors.

2) March is the last month to prune trees, shrubs, and roses while they are dormant. Proper pruning maintains tree health by eliminating decay, disease, and dead branches. Bonus? Proper pruning helps prepare your trees for severe weather.
o Remove dead branches. It’s trickier in the winter, but one good way to determine if a branch is dead is to scratch or gently slice it. If it’s green beneath the bark, it’s likely still alive.
o Remove crossing branches. They can damage each other by rubbing.
o Remove any branches within 5 feet of any structure (1 foot if it’s an ornamental tree). Be sure to step away from the tree or shrub during the process to get a wide view of the entire shape.

Upcoming Events
February 23. Growing Orchids Indoors Class. Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe. 9:30 a.m. to noon. $49. Info and registration: 847-835-8261 or chicagobotanic.org/education.

February 24. Gardener’s Pathway 2018, a day-long conference sponsored by University of Illinois Extension. Kishwaukee College Conference Center, 21193 Malta Road, Malta. 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. $50. Info and registration: 815-758-8194 or web.extension.illinois.edu/bdo

March 14-18, Chicago Flower and Garden Show at Navy Pier. http://chicagoflower.com/