Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spring Cleaning

The warmish weather this weekend got me fired up for cleaning out the garden. I usually leave all the dead perennial branches over the winter, then wait for the first signs of life, usually crocus, to go out and cut them down. In that time, many of the blowing leaves get caught up at the crowns of the shrubs and perennials. Although many argue the points of cleaning up before winter or after, I choose to leave these and have had little problems for it.

Because we can have a late winter cold blast, I take my chances clearing out the leafy protection the new shoots enjoy. That said, those young shoots are pretty hardy and the chances of a prolonged deep freeze are unlikely. My plot here benefits from strong all day sun (equal to October 10th or so), a protective wall to the north and a warmed sidewalk to the south. All the more amazing that my crocus are just up now, where usually they come up somewhere in February.

The only real danger comes in cleaning out too late. I am always eager to get out there as soon as it warms enough to see green shoots popping through the leaves, but life gets in the way sometimes and I get out there later than I would like. If the bulb greens and new leaves of perennials are putting on lots of new growth, I may damage them with my rake (or my hand) as I clear the leaves. I can only avoid this by getting in to clean as soon as possible.

The hardy Aconitum -last to go in fall and first up in spring.

Surprised to see these daylilies coming on strong

I cleaned out two full size trash bags, which is hard to believe. Twigs, stems, leaves and lots of trash. All in all, it was a good 3 hours of work. I left the rose pruning to "some other time." I also got to chat with some neighbors, all of whom I haven't seen since I was last in the garden.

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If I do not respond to your comment right away, it is only because I am busy pulling out buckthorn, creeping charlie, and garlic mustard...