Fire away! I have a horrible infestation of Aegopodium (goutweed, or bishop weed) on my front bank. It’s beautiful, has a nice smell, grows on a steep slope, and eventually gets covered with white flowers reminiscent of Queen Anne’s lace. With those qualifications, you’d think I would love it. But it grows so vigorously, with a total mat of underground rhizomes, that it manages to kill everything but the giant-leafed hostas. All my wildflowers have had to jump the sidewalk and grow in the tree lawn and the gutter. Things you can try that I already have: weeding, digging, covering with plastic, smothering in hay. This year, I’m going to add a weed burner torch to my arsenal. If you have experience with such, please give me your advice before I go nuclear.
Plant some vegetables. The night temperatures are warm enough to plant most of your vegetable seeds. If you’re putting in transplants, though, make sure you’ve hardened them off beforehand: Accustom them to the increased light and decreased temps by first putting them in a sheltered place outside for a day or two. Water the little transplants well before putting them into the ground (I dip them in a bucket), and remember to remove any flowers or fruit so they can concentrate on putting down strong roots first. Last year, I kept holding off on tomatoes until the soil was warm enough (June!). This year, you can do it now, because I no longer care. For all we know, we might get snow next week.
Go clean your mom’s yard. Sure, a handful of cut flowers is lovely, but nothing says I love you like a couple of hours of help in the garden. Plant Mom some flowers. They last a lot longer and she’s not stuck with a tacky vase.
Sally McCabe is associate director of community education at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (phsonline.org) and a co-owner of Cobblestone Krautery (www.cobblestonekrautery.com).