Spring Cleaning

March 18, 2010 5 Comments

One of the best parts about winter being over is that I get to spend time outside in the yard.  Unfortunately, it’s still pretty brown.  I was surprised at how much was still green and it proves the insulating power of snow.

These are snapdragons from last year. I've never seen them stay green before. It will be interesting to see if they come back this year from last year's growth.

This is the "nursery" where I put a bunch of the free or very cheap plants from last fall. Almost all of them are green or have new growth on them already.  They will be transplanted to the front (at least that's the plan) when the front garden dries out a bit.

This is the "nursery" where I put a bunch of the free or very cheap plants from last fall. Almost all of them are green or have new growth on them already. They will be transplanted to the front (at least that's the plan) when the front garden dries out a bit.

With the 60 degree temperatures I managed to get quite a bit done on Sunday afternoon and Monday after work.  Well, Dwayne helped a bit on Monday….

There is always a lot to do to get your garden ready for the growing season.  You have to get all of the old, dead stuff out of the way so the new, green stuff can get through.

I cut the Butterfly Bush back so that it can grow and found that it already has some new growth on it.  There was also some growth on some of the lowest branches… the ones that had the most insulation from the snow. Make sure you check before you trim, although you should get growth from the roots.

The Butterfly Bush before I cut it back.

New growth at the base of the bush.

Down in Kansas where my mother-in-law lives, the new growth grows right on the old branches, so she doesn’t cut hers back, but our winters are harder on our plants and tends to kill the stems.   The same with my hydrangea.  I usually let it go a bit until I see where the new growth is and then I cut back the stuff that is definitely dead. 

We have a small area right outside the garage door that is mainly in shade so we planted a lot of plants several years ago.  About the only things that are still there are the bleeding heart, some bluebells and the astilbe. 

Our little "shade garden". It is small and it always catches a lot of the neighbors leaves.I cleaned out the leaves that collected there and found that the bleeding heart is already plowing its way out of the earth.The bleeding hearts are anxious.

I dug out my roses from the mulch that I buried them in last fall.

Here is the Knock Out Rose that I got late last summer still buried. Crocus are trying to push their way through the mulch.

Here she is uncovered.

And not a moment too soon. She already has new growth!

I unwrapped the pot that was too big to move.  The experiment seems to have worked.  The pot looks fine.

The pot doesn't appear to be cracked on the outside and seems pretty stable when I try to rock it.

Betty’s poppy has some babies to keep her company this year.

Betty's Poppy has babies!

The rabbits were hungry over the winter.

This is my Sven rose. The rabbits must have gotten a bit hungry without access to the grass with all the snow on the ground.

The rose appears to be okay, although it will have to work a little harder to get those branches back.

The big project is the grass.  Every year under the weight of the snow, it gets crushed. 

This has a gray-looking substance on top of the grass. It looks nasty.

In order to keep it healthy you have to get air to the roots.  That involves “fluffing”.  I don’t really know if there is an actual term for this, but it involves raking the grass so that air can circulate around the blades of grass.  You don’t need to rake heavily, but you do have to get the grass back up.  This link (Garden 11 029) will open a short movie of me actually working.  Of course, there is no proof that it is actually me doing the raking, but just take my word for it.  Dwayne wasn’t home.  I don’t want him to see that I can actually do the raking.

Of course, we couldn’t do all that work without supervision!

The supervisors. Barney is on the left, Frankie is next, Louie is on the right. Clyde is behind Louie. I think we need a bigger door. Or smaller cats!

There is still plenty to do.  The weather just has to cooperate!   With the colder temperatures expected over the weekend, I will covering the plants that I have just uncovered, although many will be fine with temperatures in the 20s.

Have fun cleaning!

Dig it!

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  1. Marianne Folkerts says:

    Love your Thursday Garden tips on TV in the morning. And if I forget I check your blog. What do you do to keep a butterfly bush alive over the winter….I have not been able to over winter any so far.
    Keep up the “dirty” work.

  2. Eileen Loan says:

    Marianne, I wish I had a good answer for that. We have planted several over the years and lost almost as many. Butterfly bushes are only marginally hardy here. The trick may be to have a heavy snowpack for the winter! Surprisingly, the bush that is growing is the least protected in our garden. Usually I don’t do much with them, but I may start mulching them late in the fall. I haven’t checked to see if the other two we have are growing yet. I’ll try to remember to let you know!

  3. Deb says:

    Hi Eileen!
    I’m following you on Twitter now! Can’t wait to meet Barney!
    Deb Niermann

  4. Ava says:

    4 cats – how wonderful. Cats are soooo much fun!!! 🙂

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