April 2012 Cuttings

"Cuttings" is your source for garden updates and horticultural tips from the Reeves-Reed Arboretum's horticulture staff. Check back monthly to find out what's blooming at the Arboretum, get the inside scoop on upcoming events, and learn some timely tips you can put to use in your own garden.

In the Gardens – Spring Has Sprung!

Well, the daffodils are in full bloom and the lilacs and crabapples are already beginning to pop – about 3 weeks earlier than usual! The beautiful weather has encouraged lots of visitors to come out to the Arboretum to enjoy these first days of spring. As for us gardeners, we're working hard to keep ahead of that other classic sign of spring – weeds!

The delicate white blossoms of the Apple Serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora 'Princess Diana') against a blue April sky. Photo: Julieanne Frascinella.

This spring, the Arboretum is welcoming some new residents – two brand-new colonies of honeybees! Peter Richardson, our facilities manager and resident beekeeper, introduced the ladies to their new homes early this month, and they appear to be settling in just fine! The white hive boxes are situated at the western edge of the Daffodil Bowl. Please feel free to stop by and take a look, but remember to keep a safe distance – although we were sure to select a docile strain of honeybee for our hives, there is still a chance that they will sting if provoked!

Peter Richardson, facilities manager and resident beekeeper, installing our two new colonies of honeybees. Photo: Julieanne Frascinella.

April Garden Tips – Daffodil Care

Your beautiful daffodils have just finished blooming… what, you may wonder, are you supposed to do with them now? Daffodils are perennials, meaning that given the proper care, they’ll continue to thrive – and even increase in number – year after year. Caring for daffodils once they’ve finished blooming is actually very simple – all you have to do is leave the strappy green foliage as it is for 6 to 8 weeks, or until the leaves begin to yellow and die back. Then cut the foliage down to the ground, and you’re done! Why leave all those leaves intact after the flowers have blooomed? Well, daffodil bulbs spend a great deal of energy producing flowers, and after blooming, the foliage enables the plant to manufacture starches that are stored in the bulb, preparing the plant for an abundant crop of blooms the next year. If the greens are too messy-looking for your taste, you can tie them back loosely with a rubber band or some twine, or better yet, interplant your daffodils with tall-growing perennials that will hide the greens as they grow.

Volunteer Spotlight – Dawn Mott

Dawn makes the drive from her home on Staten Island out to Reeves-Reed Arboretum once a week to work with the horticulture crew. She’s planted trees, pruned shrubs, mulched garden beds, and weeded (We LOVE when she helps us weed!). She’s even recruiting her two young nieces to come out and work with us during our next Second Saturdays volunteer session! Thanks to Dawn and to all of the other volunteers who help us keep the Arboretum looking beautiful.

Horticulture volunteer Dawn Mott pictured next to the young dogwood tree she just planted! Photo: Julieanne Frascinella.

Are you looking to lend a hand at Reeves-Reed Arboretum this spring? We’re hosting volunteer work sessions the second Saturday of every month! Join us on Saturday, April 14 from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm for a morning of outdoor garden work. To sign up, or to learn about other volunteer opportunities at the Arboretum, please contact Lisa Martin.