Customers show interest in buying pansies April 6 at the Oakland County Farmers Market.

Customers show interest in buying pansies April 6 at the Oakland County Farmers Market.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

Flower season approaches as weather improves

By: Mike Koury | Metro | Published April 15, 2024


METRO DETROIT— The weather has been slowly getting warmer in Michigan, which means homeowners can start planning their flower beds for their properties.

The first thing people should think about when getting their flower beds ready, said Brad Wethy, manager for the Oakland County Farmers Market, is how to prepare the beds, what needs to be removed, what needs to be deadheaded and cut down, and what can last through the wintertime.

“It’s gonna be cleaning up that flower bed, making sure that when things do want to actually sprout through the ground, that they’re not having any extra obstacles such as branches, piles of leaves from the previous fall, things of that nature,” he said.

Wethy also recommended adding things to the soil that will help with plant growth, such as compost.

Matt Colonius, co-owner of Piechnik’s Greenhouse & Garden Gate in Oakland Township, said that people moving into  newly built homes have to mend the soil.

“You buy a new house and it’s just an empty lot. The foundation that they dig, they bring up the old soil from the job,” he said. “They usually don’t replenish the topsoil. So you’re stuck with this topsoil. It’s just not got any nutrients or anything in it. So it takes time the first year to establish your plants when you’re buying a new house. You have to add topsoil and nutrients.”

The best way to clean the flower beds, Wethy said, is to use simple gardening tools.

“You don’t need to go too in depth with it,” he said. “You don’t need power tools, nothing of that nature. A simple trowel, a simple … rake and just knowing what to remove and what not to remove can do leaps and bounds for your garden.”

Colonius said that if homeowners are cleaning up the yard, they should do a walkthrough to see if anything was damaged over the winter.

Items for homeowners to search for include broken branches caused by the weather and rodent damage.

“Be careful, if you have any perennials, not to disturb the perennials. Leave the mulch around them until the danger of frost is over, which is usually the beginning of May, but it can be as late as Memorial Day,” he said.

As for what to plant right now, Colonius said flowers including pansies, daffodils and tulips would grow well.

“You might want to consider whether you have deer in your yard or not,” he said. “When you make the choices, you want some deer-tolerant, cold-tolerant plants. So you know pansies are wonderful. They can take the cold but … there’s a lot of problems with the way the deer have cohabitated with us and it’s causing a lot of issues with landscapes in the area.”

Besides sun and water, Wethy said the best way to keep the flowers healthy is to keep an eye out for pest and fungi issues, and issues with overcrowding.

“I even had issues with overcrowding. … As I removed certain things from the garden or gave them more space, they were actually able to flourish better,” he said.

He said it’s important to know the space and light requirements for plants — what needs more space, what grows in shade and what grows in direct sunlight.