Friday, 5 March 2010

Time for Spring Cleaning!

Back in the autumn last year, I made a plea for not tidying up your garden, because of the advantages that gave to wildlife, etc. Well, at last there are signs of an emergent spring and with this weekend promising to remain dry, the ground should be firm enough to work on, so it’s now time for me to get on with that work!

I’ve already pruned the trees (Acer capillipes, Amelanchier and Euonymus europaeus) that I need to keep under control in my limited space earlier this year, so my list of tasks is
  • start with pruning my few roses back to a good open frame;
  • hard pruning (“stooling”) those shrubs whose purpose is coloured winter stems (Cornus species) and fresh foliage (Physocarpus, coloured-leaf Spiraea);
  • clearing the dead stems & foliage of the ferns, perennials and non-evergreen grasses;
  • wire-rake over the crowns of my hardy Geraniums to take out all the dead stuff and give them space for the new growth to breathe;
  • dig out a Miscanthus grass which has outgrown the space available and looks out of balance with its neighbouring plants. I’ll probably replace it with a less dense grass such as Pennisetum ‘Red Buttons’ - I have another one close by at the edge of a rain garden I made last year - and fill the space around it with some contrasting low-growing perennials such as Heucheras – you can get such an amazing range of foliage colours in them, I’m a big fan;
  • move a “lollipop” Bay tree into a larger pot that I got last weekend – partly to give it a bit more weight – it’s been blown over several times in the recent gusty high winds. I can re-use the smaller pot for a Carex ‘Frosted Curls’ which is in need of extra space;

I won’t tackle the Penstemons (which need hard pruning to stop them getting woody) yet, nor the back-to-framework pruning of the Buddleia, nor any of the evergreen shrubs, as it would encourage the new buds to break and it’s still too cold & frost-prone for sappy new growth to do well. Give it a few more weeks until late March/early April (at least in my neck of the woods!).

Then it will also be time to sow some annual flower seeds to provide more nectar for bee foraging (one of my contributions to International Year of Biodiversity) and to get my spuds (which are chitting nicely indoors) out into the spud-bin and large pots that I use on my sunny deck.

Happy days!

1 comment:

  1. I need these reminders about what to do in our new garden in between decorating and planning a kitchen and bathroom. There seems to be so much to do all at once, especially with spring suddenly appearing as it does every year. Maybe that's why it's called spring!

    Thanks, Steve.