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Tune Up Your Garden

Photo by Steve Henke

Time to get your hands dirty. A garden only grows where you toil away (whether you call in the experts or take it on yourself). Don't know where to start? Read on.

  1. Get inspired. At the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, you can check out more than 5,000 species of flowers, shrubs, and trees. Make a list of favorites you want to try, but be sure to pay attention to color, height, and whether they need sun or shade. 3675 Arboretum Dr., Chaska, 952-443-1400, arboretum.umn.edu
  2. Get the right tools. Pick out any tools you might need for the season with the help of the knowledgable folks at Tangletown Gardens in south Minneapolis. If nothing else, it’s always smart to start with new gloves and a top-notch pruner. 5353 Nicollet Ave. S., Mpls., 612-822-4769, tangletowngardens.com
  3. Start Trimming. Trim back old flower stems, remove root balls from old annuals, and gently prune back shrubs—be careful to avoid shrubs that bloom in spring, such as lilac and azalea. When in doubt, call the U of M’s Master Gardener hotline at 612-596-2118.
  4. Play in the mud. Get your soil ready by removing last fall’s leaves, and prep it for summer by loosening and raking in any leftover mulch from the fall. Add fresh, enriched soil in areas that may have settled or seen too much sun last year. Then scatter woodchips to retain moisture.
  5. Consider your layout. If you are looking to reconfigure your garden’s layout, now is the time to do it. The crew at Sunnyside Gardens is always ready to offer suggestions on placement. 3723 W. 44th St., Mpls., 612-926-2654, sunnyside-gardens.com

Need a handy tear-sheet of what to do? We've got that, too.