Here’s what’s coming up at Happy Apple’s Farm!

April

As April begins, garden cleanup becomes a priority. It’s exciting and busy, but also messy! Unlike more traditional gardens, we leave a lot of dead stems standing and many plants are still very dormant or just beginning to sprout. Often we trim grasses low and use those leaves as mulch. We leave stiffer stems at least 12″ high to create nesting habitat for native bees and other insects, and we collect fallen or trimmed stems to allow them to decompose slowly (leaving them whole).

By mid-April, color starts to appear in the gardens. Of course, timing shifts with the weather, as it does each spring. But April is definitely when the native plants in our gardens and natural areas begin to tell us their story.

Watch for: Packera obovata (golden groundsel), Phlox divaricata (wild blue phlox), Antennaria neglecta (pussytoes), Geum triflorum (prairie smoke; native range is northern U.S.), Ceanothus herbaceus (New Jersey tea), Viola sororia (common blue violet) and V. pedatifida (prairie violet), Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot; fingers crossed!) and the early sedges like Carex albicans and C. pensylvanica are blooming in the gardens.

In our woodlands, look for early blooms like Thalictrum thalictroides (rue anemone), Claytonia virginica (spring beauties), and Dicentra cucullaria (Dutchman’s breeches). This is not even close to an exhaustive list! There is a lot to see in our high-quality woodlands in mid- to late-April.

In the garden, most plants will be showing some signs of life this month with a couple of notable exceptions: most milkweeds and some warm season grasses. Be patient, they like to emerge late. Often Asclepias viridis (green milkweed) is the earliest milkweed we see here. It thrives early and is often near bloom by the end of April. It’s an important larval food source for Monarch butterflies making their return.

Learning opportunities: Garden cleanup is a great way to learn about the earliest native plants to sprout. Being able to identify native plants at this stage is an important aspect of garden maintenance and often a great way to share native plants. Many of our “weeds” are errant native plant babies!

For upcoming events and workshops, head to our events page!


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