We are at the beginning of spring and it seems that the weather always gets our attention.  A week like that first one of March had about as many extremes as it could have, short of tornadoes in our area.  For people who have lived here for several years, it is what we have come to expect and makes us really happy when it is warm and calm.  On Saturday a number of OBU students volunteered for a program the Student Government Association referred to as “One Body United.”  One of it objects is to help students get better acquainted with Shawnee and find places that they can be of service.

 Several students worked with Joe Harbeson and Jim VanAntwerp, both Master Gardeners, to dig ornamental grasses planted at least 10 years ago on the south side of the Federal building, divide them into more appropriate sizes, replant a smaller size and plant the remainder in other public places.  If you have ornamental grasses in your yard, now is the time to trim them back and check to see if the middle portion has died.  Normally this happens over time.  They should be dug, the middle portion discarded and the remaining outer portions divided into clumps and replanted at the same depth leaving several inches of new soil around the outer edges for growth this season.  Add fertilizer and water well to encourage new growth.  Perhaps you have friends who would like to have the left overs.

 Another group of students helped several of us at Rose Garden Park, Broadway at Franklin Street.  This park has many trees and features a circular bed planted with roses, lantana, iris, and Nandinas plus a number of crape myrtle shrubs.  The big challenge was to rake leaves when the wind was blowing from the south at about 30 miles an hour.  In spite of the wind about 30 bags of leaves were gathered and numerous rose bushes were pruned.  This park is beautiful in various seasons.  In a few weeks it will feature many red bud trees in bloom.  The ones at the corner are Oklahoma redbuds, an Oklahoma Proven selection.  Those on the west end on Franklin Street. are native redbuds.

 Another group of students assisted Becky Emerson Carlberg and Linda Smith at the Japanese Peace Garden installing some new edging for planting beds there.  The assistance from these students at the parks and at other sites around Shawnee are extremely helpful.  It is a privilege to get to work with them on these special occasions.

 It is time for my annual reminder that for the best appearance this summer now is the time to cut back your Liriope grass, also known as Monkey Grass.  As soon as the weather gets warmer, it will begin putting up new growth.  If it is trimmed now you won’t run the risk of damaging the new growth.  You can do with this with your lawn mower, weed eater or other trimming tools.

 If you have Autumn Sage, Salvia greggii, bushes now it a good time to prune them before new growth begins. They will begin blooming later in the spring but will put on their best show in the fall.

 Best wishes for an enjoyable gardening season.