With the cold winter weather behind us and the warmth of Spring quickly approaching, we understand everyone is eager to return to their gardens and begin planting. But not everyone might understand how to de-winterize their garden or where to begin with Spring prep work. We wanted to share some of our spring gardening tips and tricks to help you have a successful garden.

Things are uncertain right now and your routine has likely been upended, but one thing that is consistent is the need to get outside and the importance of spring cleaning this time of year!

That need is never more important than in your yard. This is the time to get some fresh air while you clean up, remove leaf debris and rake out the clutter from your garden.

It’s important as you cut back your ornamental grasses and prune and cut back your roses and perennials, make sure to spread a nice layer of mulch. For plant health, the best practice is to lay a three-inch-thick layer of woody mulch. Anything that is bark-based will do.

This is also the time to fertilize as well, and I’ll have more advice on that next week.

Applying Preen is also beneficial right now. The pre-emergent will prevent weeds from coming up and reduce the amount of maintenance you need to do throughout the year. If you really want to enter the green thumb zone, add compost to your beds before you lay down mulch, which will add some nice organic matter into the soil. For those of you who are at home and would rather not come into the Garden Center right now, we deliver mulch in bulk, which you can pay for over the phone or online. We’ll drop it off in your driveway and you don’t even need to come outside. Please, though, do get outside and enjoy the changing season and freshen up your landscape!


In my first year at Van Wilgen’s, I worked as a loader, putting bags in cars and doing odd jobs around the yard. One day, the job was mulching in the beds around the Garden Center, and I was doing it at the request of Bill Van Wilgen himself. Needless to say, 17 year old me was nervous. But I’ll never forget what Bill told me about compost that day. He told me that compost is the only mulch for annual beds because their tiny roots can’t handle the nitrogen that mulch puts in the soil as it decomposes. Compost is one of the most underutilized tools in any gardener’s toolbox. It’s the best top dressing for perennial beds, the number one mulch for annual beds, and an absolute must in your veggie garden. Here at Van Wilgen’s, we keep our bulk compost dry so that it’s ready and easy to spread the second it hits your property. We deliver our plant and leaf derived compost anywhere, and you can even get it on our website right here:

Will O’Hara

Perennial Manager

This time of year, one of the most popular questions we receive at the garden this time of year is definitely; Is it too early to plant? The general rule of thumb is if you can dig a hole (no frost in the ground), it is ok to plant. The majority of our perennial and nursery stock is cold climates grown to our growing region and they handle the colder temperatures.
Also, there are some general planting guidelines that we like to offer when it comes to installing plant material. We recommend digging a hole twice the size of the root ball. Also, it is really a great idea to amend the current soil with VW Premium Planting mix (Topsoil, Compost, and Peat Moss). After the hole is completely filled in, an application of VW Jumpstart transplant fertilizer should be made to the plant. If you should have any additional plants about planting instructions or cold-sensitive plants, do not hesitate to contact us at the garden center.
Happy Gardening!