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Bush honeysuckle is a common site in Fort Wayne, known for its insidious nature in gardens.

Don’t shirk outdoor duties

Use cooler days to whack and weed gardens

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Garlic mustard looks pretty, but it’s invasive and crowds out native plants.

We’re having a Goldilocks and the Three Beers kind of spring.

First it’s unusually hot. Then it’s too cold. What’s a gardener to do?

By this time, we feel compelled to get out there and do something.

The baby veggie plants are getting leggy and leaning over toward the window. The tender perennials call our names as we hold our hands over our ears and sing la-la-la as we pass them in the store. We put on our gardening gloves, go outside, move a pot, then go inside.

Or maybe you just grab those three beers and ignore the call of the wild.

If you’re like me, however, brushing off the urge to garden is not an option. My Dirt habit is so bad; I’ve been pulling quack grass from the mulch of business parking lots.

If it’s too early to plant tender annuals – and I don’t plant them until Mother’s Day weekend, no matter how much the impatiens whine – it’s not too early to weed and whack.

Last weekend, I got out the loppers and went to town. Volunteer trees and annoying ivy were helpless in my frenzy. OK, so I might have stomped on an emerging hosta or two, but there are going to be a few casualties in the war on thugs.

I cleared some areas, covered them with several layers of newspaper and then hid that with a little mulch. Those spots might be a good place to put a bird bath or a big pot full of plants when the weather gets warmer. Do I want to plant there? Maybe. You just don’t want naked spots that will end up causing you problems later.

You also don’t want to encourage problem plants.

Here are some of Indiana’s Most Unwanted invasive plant pests that I’ve spotted recently in Fort Wayne (and a few at Dirt Cottage): Asian bush honeysuckle, garlic mustard, periwinkle, Canada thistle, creeping Charlie, Norway maple, privet, purple winter creeper and winged burning bush.

To see the entire list, with links to pictures and fast facts about each bad boy, go to www.in.gov/dnr/3123.htm and click on the Most Unwanted list. I’ll put the direct link on “We’re Digging It,” the Journal Gazette’s gardening blog at www.journalgazette.net.

Other ideas for now

•Transplant hostas and day lilies

•Paint pots (I’m experimenting this year with ancient plastic pots and spray paint)

•Mow and trim

•Deadhead tulips and jonquils that are past their prime

•Cut back the forsythia

•Buy something fun. I just got a cheerful, chunky hen for the garden bed next to the kitchen door

•Scrub the porch or patio and clean outdoor furniture

Anne Gregory is a garden putterer, not a gardening expert, and JournalGazette.net writer and editor. Garden photos (JPEGs, please) and tips may be sent to garden@jg.net (please put “The Dirt” in the subject line) or 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.

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