How to get your garden growing: Advice from Frankie 'Flowers'

Frankie "Flowers" Ferragine is Cityline's garden guru and Breakfast Television's weather anchor. His advice will have you the envy of the block this summer with your luscious lawn and gorgeous gardens.
By Frankie Ferragine
Photo by Shannon J. Ross Photo by Shannon J. Ross

It's time to put some "spring" back in your beds, that is! With winter over and temperatures on the rise, the battle against weeds, insects and disease begins. Get out there early to protect your yard from these invaders, then sit back and enjoy the beauty of your handiwork all season long.

Frankie's five spring must-dos:

1. Clean

Remove last season’s annuals, vegetables and herbs, as well as any winter-damaged plants. Get rid of leaves, especially diseased ones, and any weeds in flower beds, lawns and walkways. And finally, prune late-season flowering shrubs and vines that bloom on new growth.

2. Prepare

Remember, gardens are only as good as the soil they’re planted in. Keep garden beds fertile by enriching the earth with organic compost, manure or a premium-quality mixed blend of soil. Beef up the beds’ edges to prevent your lawn from creeping in and plants from creeping out.


Next, spread a layer of fertilizer to boost the health of your lawn, and minimize weed growth by spraying with liquid corn gluten (it prevents weed seeds from germinating). Wait at least three weeks before reseeding.

And now’s also the time to turn on outdoor water taps, tune up your irrigation system and sharpen lawn mower blades and pruning shears.

3. Plan

It’s easy to blow your budget when garden centres are full of gorgeous displays that just beg you to open your wallet!

To stay on track, make a list before you head out. Think about colour themes, areas you want to improve and existing plants that just aren’t working. And don’t forget to note each garden’s growing restrictions (available light, soil type, hardiness zone, maintenance requirements). Knowing these details will help you pick the right plant for the right place and ultimately create landscapes that take care of themselves.


4. Plant

Before you start planting, look up the last frost date in your area. This date determines when it’s safe to plant frost-tender plants like tomatoes, peppers, hibiscus and impatiens. But it doesn’t limit the planting of frost-hardy perennials, trees, flowering shrubs and annuals like pansies and snapdragons that thrive in cool early-spring temps.

5. Stretch

Finally, don’t forget to warm up those muscles—physiotherapists and chiropractors tend to see an upswing in patients in the spring! Oh, and sunscreen is a good idea too.

Flower power: Get your garden in tip-top shape


Nutrient boost: Enrich soil and fertilize lawns to promote healthy growth all season long.


Sweet spot: Pick plants that'll thrive in each garden's growing conditions.



Life lines: Look for plants with good root systems — that means they're healthy.


Shear perfection: Remove dead foliage to help new plants grow big and strong.

Chatelaine expert: Franke "Flowers" Ferragine is CityLine's garden guru and Breakfast Television's weather anchor.


Subscribe to our newsletters for our very best stories, recipes, style and shopping tips, horoscopes and special offers.

By signing up, you agree to our terms of use and privacy policy. You may unsubscribe at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.