Why you can’t divide hellebores, how to deal with lawn moss, and other tips for garden woes

The third week of March is when we welcome early flowering shrubs and get to the task of mowing and edging the lawn.

Q. Can I divide my large hellebore plant? It is most lovely with double pink blooms and I would like to share a start of it with a friend. — F.G., Tacoma

A. Step away from that hellebore. These perennials do not transplant or divide up easily because of their thick and brittle roots. If you want to share hellebores, then look for hellebore seedlings under the skirts of the mother plant.

Tip: the seedlings are difficult to transplant due to the long tap root. Dig deep to remove them. Other perennial plants such as hosta, daylilies and ornamental grasses are much easier to divide and share at this time of year.

Q. I used a moss killer on my lawn and it made my lawn turn black. What should I do? — T., Email

A. Just wait. It is the moss that has turned dark and dead not your grass. It does sound like you have a lot of moss in your lawn if the area has turned black. Perhaps a more practical approach is to encourage the moss and enjoy a soft moss lawn.

The bad news for lawn lovers is that once you kill off the moss, it will come charging back later this spring. You must change the conditions that favor moss such as shade, moisture and poor soil fertility to keep moss out of the lawn.

Q. I see you will be doing a free talk on the web about Carefree Color or something like that. I cannot attend this class even though it is online. Can you please just tell me the top plants that will add color to my landscape without any work? — J.B., Email

A. The easiest way to add carefree color to a landscape in Western Washington is to add flowering shrubs. Visit the nursery every month of the year and bring home something in bloom. Pay attention to what will look good, survive your growing conditions (sun, shade, dry, etc.), and will fit the amount of space available. After 12 months, you will have early bloomers such as forsythia and PJM rhododendrons, mid spring color with lilacs and azaleas, summer color with hardy hibiscus and shrub roses. and fall and winter color with shrubs and trees with attractive foliage and berries. There will be no need for fertilizing, pruning or extra water when you put the right shrub in the right place.

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Free class on year-round color

Marianne Binetti will present an online class called “Color, Color, Color: Year Round Color without the Water Worries” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 21. Sign up at Cascade Gardener presents Marianne Binetti at the Brown Paper Tickets website.

This is a webinar so you view the live class from your home computer. Once you sign up, a link will be emailed to you. Then just click the link at class time and you will join the live class with the ability to ask questions and view beautiful garden images.

Marianne Binetti has a degree in horticulture from Washington State University and is the author of several books. Reach her at binettigarden.com.