I know many of you are out in the garden eager to see plants growing and blooming. I went out last week and started cleaning out the huge amount of oak leaves from my neighbors trees that end up in my beds. Even though they look unsightly, it is a very environmentally sound practice to let the fall leaves stay on the perennial beds thru winter. Many species of insect and amphibians find shelter and hibernate there for the winter. So now that the weather has finally changed, off they go to my huge compost bin designated just for leaves. In the fall leaves that lay on grass get mulched with our mulching mower as I explain here. Some more spring chores:
- Pruning. This is the best time to prune some shrubs and clean up any fallen branches from the yard. The general rule is to prune in spring only shrubs that bloom on new wood. Shrubs that bloom in early spring generally bloom on old wood or stems that formed last summer, it is best to wait until after they bloom to cut back. Some examples of early bloomers are Forsythia, Mahonia, Salix, Daphne, Deutzia, Azalea, Rhododendron and Weigela to name just a few. Read more about pruning in this post.
- Divide Perennials. Early spring is the ideal time to dig up and divide large clumps of perennials like Hostas, Iris, Pulmonaria, Brunnera and Lilly. Although you can divide some perennials anytime during the summer, it is much easier to do it now when the crown be easily seen. More here.
- Hummingbird Feeders should be out by April 15 when the first migrating hummers start showing up on their way north, sometimes so exhausted that a sip of nectar can replenish their energy and make a life or death difference. Some may even choose to make a home in your garden!
- Feeding and top dressing beds probably the best time to apply a bit of nutrients to the soil as needed. I use good organic products for my evergreens, Azaleas and Rhododendrons, a light layer of composted soil mixed with mushroom manure on the perennial beds and fix any bare patches of lawn.
We all know that the work seems a bit daunting at this time of the year, but it is thrilling to see plants spring into life and discover that once more the cycle of life continues. Enjoy the outdoors!
“Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day-like writing a poem or saying a prayer” -Anne Morrow Lindberg