Wake Up, Sleepy Gardens . . .
Happy spring holidays, gardening friends! With landscape design season back in full swing —and many projects and drawings on the drafting table— it’s a working weekend for me. But I did manage to slip outside this afternoon to cut back and rake out the Secret Garden. It’s quite late in the season for this early spring chore, but the snow has only just receded from the darkest corners of this beloved, shady space. Unusually cold temperatures and early-spring snowfall delayed my annal rake up and wake up. What a joy to finally place and fill the water bowl, returning it to its seasonal position, beside the Secret Garden door. At your service, Prince Pickerel!
Last weekend I presented a pruning and perennial garden maintenance seminar at Walker Farm in Dummerston, Vermont. Many good questions were asked and I will be posting some tips and notes from the seminar, later this week. If snow has only just receded from your garden, it is wise to begin your spring clean up by cutting back exposed debris with clean, sharp shears (or a string trimmer if no woody plants are in your borders). Be sure to avoid compacting wet soil: minimize foot traffic in garden beds by staying on paths and stepping stones when possible. Lightly pull away mulch and debris with a wide rake (I use a bamboo lawn rake for the first round of clean up), using a gentle hopping, rather than dragging motion. Work slowly and carefully; watching for emerging bulbs and perennial crowns (especially the delicate, pink-rose eyes of peonies). Once beds are more fully dried out, I do a more thorough manicure with an adjustable metal rake and edging tool. But the ground here is still quite wet, so I will give the borders another week to dry out before beginning my second sweep.
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