Although it is still February in the Bluegrass, the few days of unexpected spring have made many people anxious for the arrival of spring. Now is the time to prepare your garden for the impending warmth and the beautiful display of colors to follow. If you did not clean out your flower beds this autumn, now is the time to start to start working on this before daffodils, crocus and other early spring flowers emerge;
- Cut off the old stems of Autumn Joy sedum if you let the stalks over winter for the birds – be careful not to tug at these stems because it will pull new vegatation from the groung.
- Cut off the old leaves from daylilies and Iris’ – you may not see new vegatation yet, but it is quiety waiting under the ground. Be very careful of new leaves coming up in certain areas – the Naked Lady flower sends up its leaves in the early spring and they die in summer, only to bring forth beautiful pink blooms on naked stems in the late summer and early fall.
- Thin out beds from young bushes and trees you do not want growing in the garden – the early you get these the less you will have to pull up during the summer.
- Rake beds clean to help young sprouts come up more easily. If you used old leaves to cover your beds in the fall, remove them to your compost pile and apply a fresh layer of matured compost around all trees and shrubs.
- If you are like me and have let Vinca major take over a few areas of different gardens, not is the time to cut and thin these outs. If it is an area with no new vegatation emerging, you can simple run the lawnmower over these areas or attack them with a weed wacker. If you are using Vinca major as a ground cover, this simple trick will also give you a neater bed and greener leaves in the spring.
All this garden waste can be applied to your compost heap and will have a year to breakdown so it can be used next spring. Designing new garden beds is the perfect at this time of year. Simply find the items you would like to serve as a border: plastic edging you hammer into the ground, landscape timbers, concrete blocks or rocks.
Once you find the area where you want a new bed, spread out thick layers of wet newspaper on the ground and then surround them with you border object. If the newspaper sticks out from the border, simply tuck it under. Then fill the area with fresh compost, garden soil or other garden waste. When it comes time for planting, add some top soil to the garden and begin placing your seeds for plants. The newspaper will keep the weeds at by and will also break down into nitrogen to fee the plants and soil.