Taking the time for winter prep can result in a beautiful spring garden so check out these great tips and then grab that coat and gloves and get to work!

Photo by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Winter Prep For Beautiful Spring Garden – Perennials

It is important to consider your location and the current weather your area is experiencing. Located here in South Georgia, we have mild winters. If you live in a cooler region, you will want to delay the following garden tasks until just before spring but begin with perennials.


Perennials are nature’s gift that keep giving year after year. To keep them looking their best, prune back perennials to the form and size you desire. This will allow the plant to fill in with new, lush growth when spring arrives. Avoid pruning certain plants that bloom on old wood. These types of plants formed their buds the previous year and if they are removed, will not flower.

Photo by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Roses – Start Pruning Late Winter

Roses are an essential component to any garden. Late winter is the best time to prune your roses back allowing for new, fresh growth to occur when spring arrives. Remove any dead canes and cut healthy stems back to approximately 1/3 to 2/3 of the size of the plant. Remove any suckers from the plant as these will steal nutrients and stunt overall growth.


Spray the rose plant thoroughly with horticultural oil to rid of insects as well as their eggs before they become active again in the spring. Reward all of your hard work with buying yourself a new beautiful rose bush to add to your garden as now is a great time to plant them.

Photo by Carmen Johnston Gardens

New Plantings

Now is the perfect time to get new perennials, shrubs, and trees planted in your garden, as long as your area is safe from freezes. Planting now allows plants’ root structures to form well before the intense summer heat arrives.


Some of my favorite perennials to bring gorgeous spring color into the garden are foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), peony (Paeonia lactiflora), African iris (Dietes iridioides), coneflower (Echinaceae sp.), and larkspur (Delphinium sp.). My favorite evergreens to incorporate are Wintergreen boxwoods (Buxus sinica var. insularis ‘Wintergreen’), dwarf bur ford hollies (Ilex cornuta ‘Dwarf Burford’), and distylium.


Photo by Carmen Johnston Gardens


If you are looking forward to a gorgeous spring, make it even more beautiful by fertilizing everything from curb to foundation including your lawn, shrubs, and trees.


Choose a fertilizer that is of good quality because it truly makes a difference. I like to my secret “go-go juice” Nelson plant food Nelson plant food. You will want a complete fertilizer, meaning it has both macronutrients and micronutrients.

Photo by Carmen Johnston Gardens


Last but not least, make sure to give your lawn the love and attention it deserves. I recommend having a soil test completed with your local extension office to assess your lawn’s nutrient needs.

Here in the South, our soils tend be quite acidic which most plants are not fond of. It is likely your lawn needs to be limed which will neutralize the soil pH. This will improve nutrient availability to your plants and improve the overall health and structure of the soil.


One of the most important things you can do for your lawn is known as scalping. This involves lowering your lawn mower setting each time the grass is cut in order to clean up the thatch. Thatch is the area of dead and living grass that is between the soil and the lush green grass that graces your lawn. By cleaning up the thatch, you improve aeration, drainage, and nutrient absorption. Also, when the grass is cut, make sure that the grass clippings are not left on the lawn during this time of scalping.


Photo by Carmen Johnston Gardens

Looking For Garden Inspiration

Did you see my last blog on a beautiful outdoor living and garden installation by the gorgeous Savannah River in Augusta, Georgia.  Click here to see this stunning project with a fun video.

And, f you need some spring-time inspiration, be sure and follow along via our emails, blogs or on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest!