PHOTO CREDIT: @BEDNEYIMAGES | FREEPIK
I know you are all eager to get outside and start cleaning up that mess that winter left in your garden, but believe it or not, it pays royal dividends to give your garden a little adjustment time between winter and spring. Aside from the obvious aesthetic reason there is no need to start digging and raking until around the second or third week of April. Give the garden a little more time to absorb nutrients from the dead plant material, allow the ground to completely thaw and the garden critters to come out and play. If you’re just too excited to wait any longer, then cut up the dead plant material into small chunks (mulch) and leave it lying on top of the soil. If you mulch it up small enough, you can even leave it there indefinitely.
Then, when you absolutely must indulge, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE tread carefully. That hand rake that you are so passionately exercising is wonderful at unsuspectedly chopping off the tops of those beautiful budding perennials that are hiding just below the soil surface. Speaking of chopping, April is the month for doing some serious shrub and tree pruning. Be careful that you do your pruning research first. Some plants—especially those that flower in the early spring—generally should not be pruned until after they flower; and then others may prefer to be pruned in the fall.
Towards the end of this month it is a wonderful time to apply two inches of compost or “triple mix” to your garden bed. Triple mix, which is a mixture of peat moss, compost and top-soil, will add important nutrients to your garden and REALLY, TRULY help your plants thrive. There’s no need to mix it into the existing soil… just layer it on top and let the earthworms and garden critters do the mixing for you.
Those of you who neglected to follow my watering instructions and let your new perennial beds dry out for prolonged periods last year, might notice some winter kill (dead parts) on your trees and shrubs; or worse, the plant may have made its ascent to that glorious garden in the sky. Tisk tisk… I warned you!!! Carefully prune the dead material from the plants that survived, and hold a farewell funeral for the ones that didn’t make it.
Lastly… those of you who are planning to install new garden beds this spring… get cracking at that garden clean-up ASAP. Ideally your new beds should be dug, and the soil well enhanced by month’s end. If you’re really slow at getting started and don’t even have a garden design ready yet read my March post titled “Spring Crazy Crazy”… cuz you crazy.
Check in with us once a month between March and October for tips on how to care for your garden. And remember, Design for Conscious Living® is a full-service interior and exterior design company. We can help you with everything from decorative flower pots to the design and installation of your dream garden.