Well, looking at some of the posts linked up to last week’s Tuesday Garden Party, it seems like there’s a lot of seed starting going on as well as early spring blooms. I hope those of you in the northeast who are still getting some of the white stuff get a break soon and can see your own garden beds come alive! Sheesh, it’s like the Long, Long Winter for you guys!
In the meantime, you can live vicariously through us that have gardens we can get out in! So, on that note, I’ll share some of what I accomplished on Sunday afternoon in a couple hours (I was feeling the pressure to get some stuff done in our pretty, sunny weather we’d had for a few days, ’cause they’re telling us it’s going to be mainly rain for the rest of our Spring Break this week).
I concentrated on the front flower beds, since that’s what everyone sees and I was getting tired of all the brown, dead sticks! Though as I put these two photos together, I realized it doesn’t seem that much of a difference – hence the ‘before and after’ labels. Trust me, I hauled two wheelbarrows of dead stuff and weeds out of this area alone.
You can also probably tell that I took the before picture about a week earlier (see the difference in the tulips on the upper left?) – that’s because I fully intended to get to it sooner. Pretty much the story of my gardening life. The spirea needs to be cut back some and I didn’t get to all the weeds and nothing got it’s layer of newspaper and compost, but my goal was to get everything cut back. It’s just a step at a time, isn’t it?
This, however, was the saddest part of my front bed garden: my favorite dry shade plant, a purple Hebe bit the dust after our bout in December with negative degrees (you can go here to see it in all it’s June glory – along with more of this front bed). I’ve waited awhile to see if any life would come from it, and in fact, only cut it back – just in case it has some life left in the roots somewhere. The biggest problem is that I haven’t seen this variety of Hebe anywhere since purchasing the two plants I have at a nursery sale about 4 years ago. Sigh.
And of course there was weeding, even though I was concentrating on cutting back and pruning. This prolific early spring weed was the main thing I pulled tons of. It’s a wild cress, but we call them ‘poppers’ because if you wait to pull them after they’ve got seed heads the seeds pop in your face and fly everywhere. Every spring I’m hopeful that I got most of them before popping…until I see all the new plants the following spring, ha!
I’ll leave you with a few shots of the cut-back and mostly cleaned up front porch garden. It’s this time of year that I’m glad I interspersed the hydrangeas with evergreen boxwoods – they’re truly doing their job of adding winter and early spring interest. I’ve decided this year to leave the small Japanese maple leaves as a weed-deterent layer and we’ll just lay the newspaper and compost over them when we get to it.
This part of the front garden is exposed more to the western wind, but I didn’t lose too much to the cold, surprisingly. Some of the creeping phlox is brown, but I think that will grow back, and I lost a pretty big Lithodora, but that at least will be easy to find a replacement.
Is anyone else taking stock of losses from this last winter? I think most areas of the country had some bout of extreme cold, didn’t they? I’ve got a lot more dead things in the backyard, so our list will grow, I’m afraid. I hope you fared okay!