Spring Cleanup and Perennials

Don’t you just love all the gardens catalogs that come in the mail. All those gorgeous pictures of perennials and annuals.  Most are offering a special deal if you order by a certain date. As soon as I see them, I just want to get out in the garden and start planting. I want to order everything in the catalogs even if I have never heard of the plant and have no idea where I would place it in my garden.

How many times have we bought a plant before we knew where to plant it. So it lives in it’s pot until we can figure out where it will fit. What we should do, is plan what we want to plant and then purchase. I know I don’t always do it either.

When the catalogs first arrive we still have a lot of winter ahead of us especially if we are planting vegetables and annual herbs. When you have 65 degrees F in February or early March, don’t be too eager to set out new plants if your area is known for late frosts. . Now is a great time to clean up the garden and get rid of leaves and last years clutter.

If you live in the Midwest, don’t get too eager to remove any coverings in our gardens. Those late frost can do more damage than the winter months. Plants do not care for having one day in the 70 degrees F. and the next day below freezing.

As soon as you see the beginnings of new growth coming around the base of perennials, it is time to start the cleanup. This may be at the end of March or the beginning of April.

Start with removing any of last year’s annuals, I usually leave them in the fall for the animals to use as cover and possible food. At least it is what I tell myself when I don’t find the time for fall cleanup.

Once I have all my old basil plants in the compost pile, I start by cleaning up the perennial beds. I like to remove any sticks or old growth. I also take the time to relocate plants into new homes. This is a great way to share your plants and extend your garden. Last fall I dug up some Dutch Iris from just three clumps, I had about 15 new plants and gave some away and move some to new beds.

When sharing plants be sure to pass along any information about the plant so the new owner know where to plant, the name of the plant and any growing conditions. Don’t forget to warn someone if your are sharing mint and how it likes to spread.

After it has rain is a great time to dig up plants and to weed. If fact one of my favorite times to weed is when it is just starting to rain, just be aware if it is thundering and lightening. That is the time to head inside.

Happy Gardening

Sharon K

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