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Archive for Thursday, February 25, 1999

DEVISE A PLAN BEFORE YOU PLANT

February 25, 1999

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A Lawrence landscape supervisor recommends planning projects beforehand.

Pick the right plants for the site.

Crystal Miles, the Lawrence Parks and Recreation landscape supervisor, said picking the right plants for a site saves headaches and work.

"A little bit of prior thought before planting is well appreciated at the end of your project," Miles said. "I think it's important to pick a plant for the site ... so you don't waste time and money on things that don't work."

That means putting plants that like shade under trees.

Miles suggests checking the amount of sun a spot gets, how wet it is and whether it is protected before choosing plants. Getting the right plant in the right spot also saves gardeners from excessive maintenance.

Miles spends a lot of time planning.

In landscaping projects around Lawrence, her crew tries to get three seasons worth of color in all flower beds. They plant bulbs, annuals and perennials.

"We like the kind of yellow and blue and pink combination," she said.

They plant bulbs, daisies, day lilies and even mums in the fall.

"New people come to our city in the fall," she said, so they like to make the city look as nice as possible to welcome newcomers.

Because of Lawrence's climate, landscapers have a wide variety of plants to choose from.

"We can grow lots of things here," Miles said.

When planning some landscaping or a garden, Miles suggest starting out the easy way.

"Start with the basics and then add to it," Miles said. "Gardens just don't happen. They develop."

The first thing she plants at a site is trees.

"If you have a site that already has trees, then you're already blessed," she said.

When planning a project or improving a garden, she recommends keeping your eyes open for new ideas.

"Be open or aware," Miles said. "Just a few little details can really bring out something special in your garden."

Bulbs should be planted in the fall.

Annuals, Miles said, can go in after the first frost-free day in the spring, usually around the first week of May or Mother's Day.

Mulching is a good idea for any landscaping, Miles said.

"It helps keep the watering down, keeps the ground cool," she said.

Areas need to be remulched about every three years as mulch breaks down into soil.

For those folks who are itching to get out in their yard, there is plenty of work to be done, even in February. It is a good time to start soil work.

"This is the time of year to plant trees," she said. "It's a good time to do pruning. It's a good time to do flower bed and leaf clean up."

-- Felicia Haynes' phone message number is 832-7173. Her e-mail address is fhaynes@ljworld.com.

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