Introducing a new column: ‘Gardening in Des Moines’

by Liz Sanborn
Master Gardener

My name is Liz Sanborn and I have been a King County Master Gardener for over 12 years and have been gardening in Des Moines for 23 years. I have been lucky enough lately to be spending a lot of time in the garden. Unfortunately most of this time has been spent weeding, weeding and…….. weeding.

It is the first week of May and I am struck by how lucky we are to live in this community. I just got home from walking my kids to school – a 10-minute walk took us 45. We have been enjoying all the gardens on our circuitous route to school and I am teaching my kids about plants and flowers with hopes of instilling in them my love for everything that grows. They enjoy these walks as much as I do and when we have a morning as gorgeous as this one – we are much more aware of our gratitude for this close-knit community and all of our great neighbors.

There is a lot to do in the garden in May – especially when we have had only a few nice days to get anything accomplished. This is the time when all the perennials should be cut back and the roses pruned. I find March and April a good time to move plants that need a better location – having made a note of them last year. Several hydrangeas needed more breathing room and some plants had to go completely because they were bullies.

May is also the perfect month to do some propagating. Any of the tall sedums like Autumn Joy can be propagated by taking five or six inch cuttings around mid-May and potting them up in sterile potting soil. This will not hurt your plant and will actually make it bushier and less likely to tip over when it is heavy with blooms. Keep the cutting in a shady location and they will soon take root and can be transplanted into the garden. Sedums are some of the easiest plants to propagate this way and will make you popular with your friends when you have extras to give away.

Hydrangeas are fairly easy to propagate also – take cutting from your plants now while the stems are green and pot them up in sterile soil. Again, keep the cuttings inn a shady spot and you will have new hydrangea plants in no time. This is a great way to obtain different varieties of hydrangeas if your friends have ones that you admire.

Enjoy these warmer days and be sure to take the time to relax in the garden – the weeds can wait.


2 Responses to “Introducing a new column: ‘Gardening in Des Moines’”
  1. Abby Wammer says:

    Hi Liz,
    Can you explain sterile soil please? Not really sure what this means. Thanks! Enjoying to your next column.

Share Your Opinion

By participating in our online comment system, you are agreeing to abide by the terms of our comment policy.

...and oh, if you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!