I'm trying to forget that the weather report I heard today is calling for some sleet and snow the next few days, so instead I ventured out into the yard and began poking around in my gardens.
In my herb garden I noticed the chives have really begun growing, chamomile looks to be awakening, and Lady's Mantle is also slowly rising to the occasion. Also my gooseberry bush is sprouting tiny leaves. In my other beds I have several good looking perennials that are poking through - I even saw the tips of my peonies beginning to grow and the ends of my hydrangea bush starting to leaf out.
I am of the mind that I leave (no pun intended) my garden growth in the fall to clip it back in the spring - It provides a nice natural winter landscape and the birds eat any seeds I haven't harvested. But alas, by walking in the gardens I am also reminded it's time to begin my spring (garden) cleaning.
The first thing I do is to wander my gardens looking for return friends. I look for dead, dry stems that I clip back with a pair of clean, sharp garden scissors! I also gently shape up any shrubbery (except the lilac bushes, don't prune them until AFTER they have bloomed - I learned that the hard way with my first lilac bush. Hmmm where are the blooms???) and I trim up any vines.
For my raised bed veggie gardens I pull stray weeds and grass, and pull the old plants - I also allow the roots of last years plants to rot naturally in the garden then I pull them out in the spring... I personally don't use any of my spring garden clippings in my compost pile since they could be diseased, but some do add their clippings to their compost piles!
The next thing I do is add compost! In our township we can get up to 3 yards of compost per season - For FREE. My hubby is really "thrilled" to be going to get that for me this year. Getting some of this from the township is great especially since my compost pile doesn't come near feeding my entire garden. I simply work in a thin layer of compost around my plants and wa-lah!
And finally I clean up my stone garden edge - Most of my gardens have medium sized river rocks edging the garden. During the winter they sometimes settle into the ground and often have last year's grasses growing between the rocks and creeping into my beds, so I pull up all the rocks and add a little lift under them (as needed) while pulling out any grasses - Which is terribly therapeutic when I'm in a nasty mood! (Darn you stupid weeds/grass, take THAT!)
What can I say, I lead an exciting life!