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All About Midwestern Gardens

Feeling a little blah lately? Trying to sell your house? Maybe it’s time to brighten up your home—and shake off the winter blues—by planting a garden.

After the past winter, gardening may seem a daunting prospect; the yard may look as bleak as a lunar landscape. But never fear, spring is just around the corner, and with it, comes the perfect opportunity to resurrect your lawn with a new garden.

What to Plant

For the next couple weeks, play it safe by choosing plants that can withstand the cold. Pansies, of course, are the reliable favorite for early spring, but consider adding snapdragons and violas for variety. Perennials like peonies and daylilies are also a go-to for unpredictable Midwestern weather.

Once it gets warmer, look ahead to what could be a hot summer by growing plants that can deal with a little heat. Herbs like thyme and St. John’s wort are surprisingly hardy—not to mention, have other uses besides sitting in the garden and looking pretty. If nothing less than flowers will do, dress up your garden with fun Mexican hat flowers, pretty, but low-maintenance basket-of-gold, or gorgeous sundrops.

When to Plant It

It’s usually tough to gauge when your backyard is at its most fertile. But this year, it may even more difficult to plan your summer garden after a season of heavy snows.

The rule of thumb is to plant six weeks before the average last frost. For St. Louisans, that’s typically the end of the first week in April. Some gardeners prefer to plant earlier—about eight weeks before that date—but this year, it might be wise to push it back as far as possible.

Even then, stick to the aforementioned cool-season plants and flowers, and hold off on trees and shrubs. However, it is an excellent time to prune your trees, which will stimulate new growth after the long winter.

With these tips in mind, it’s time to venture outdoors once again, and see if you can’t breathe new life into your home with a beautiful backyard garden.

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