Spring Cleaning

Spring is the time of year for starting anew. Time for assessing what you have that’s worth keeping and purging what is no longer needed.  Time for cleaning up.  While most people apply the principles of spring cleaning to closets, home interiors and windows, I start first in the garden! 

This year, after trimming back the old leaves on my hellebores so the new flowers and foliage could emerge, I focused my spring cleaning efforts on picking up the fallen branches in my yard.  I had a lot of them in all different sizes.  I picked up what I could on my own and then solicited the help of friend Tom, who willingly used his chainsaw on the largest branches to give me some additional firewood.  Most people put their yard waste, such as twigs, in the trash for pick-up by the local municipality.  I view these branches as  free mulch!  With my chipper shredder, I was quickly able to transform this pile of ‘trash’ into something very useful. 

Helleborus orientalis
Branches ready for the chipper/shredder
With the fallen branches taken care of, I moved on to raking out the woodland beds.  In the fall, I clean out the foundation beds, but I let the leaves remain in the woods until the spring.  Then I do some ‘vacuuming’ of sorts.  This process is somewhat like a treasure hunt. As I pull back the leaves, I uncover tiny ephemeral plants and spring bulbs that are emerging and bringing life to the garden.  I welcome them like long-lost friends and enjoy seeing where they appear.  Sometimes that is where I planted them; sometimes it is where birds, ants or the wind has carried them.  My favorites include Galanthus, Crocus tommasinianus ‘Ruby Giant’, Anemone blanda, Mertensia virginica, and Sanguinaria canadensis.

Crocus tommasinianus ‘Ruby Giant’
Anemone blanda
Mertensia virginica
Sanguinaria canadensis ‘Multiplex’

As you ponder your spring cleaning efforts this year, consider starting outside.  After all, as Alfred Austin so aptly said:

“The glory of gardening, hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature.  To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.”

I’m pretty confident that no amount of indoor spring cleaning will give you that!



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