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April 12, 2013

How do I get my Easter lily home safely?

To my dear readers: I’m back — and ready for your letters and notes anytime. I look forward to hearing from you as we begin our 30th year of gardening with North Shore Gardener.

Q: With Mother’s Day coming and the weather not exactly cooperating, how can I safely transport a fragile bunch of flowers or a delicate flowering plant like an Easter lily from store to home?

A: Treat a live plant just like a small child or a pet — never leave it in the car in any weather. Make the flower shop your last stop of the day and head for your warm home with your beautiful flowers.

Q: Why is there a ring of bare ground around the tree trunks after a snowstorm? Did someone shovel it so their dog can have a “bathroom”? I’ve wondered about this for years.

A: No, no one has shoveled for their pet. The dark bark of the trunk absorbs the warmth of the sun and melts the snow. Also, the sap rising in the tree at this time of the year comes from roots far underground, especially in the big, older trees. This warmth melts snow, too.

Q: What should I do about the spring bulbs that are sprouting — even blooming — early, through the snow and ice? Will they be all right? Should I at least cover them?

A: Many of the early sprouts you see are leaf sprouts, not flower sprouts — the flower bud is still to emerge. And a covering of snow won’t be harmful; in fact, snow can be an insulator and give some protection. Don’t bother to mulch them now. But it really depends on what kind of bulb is sprouting, too — crocus and snowdrops often bloom through the snow; tulips are chancier.

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