”“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.”- Ruth Stout
While I genuinely love all four seasons, nothing gives me a skip in my step like the arrival of spring—especially in the garden. If you’re eager to get outdoors after the long winter, here are five spring cleaning tips that will give your garden a fantastic head start.
1- Define Perimeters. It’s normal for garden beds to look a bit disheveled this time of year, and this easy task delivers a lot of impact for a little work. Start by evaluating the garden borders, the line where the garden beds meet the sod. Remove any clutter, rocks or pavers that have fallen or shifted during winter. Next, using a half-moon digger, cut along the border about six inches deep, cutting away fallen edges, creeping weeds and grass that is infringing on the garden bed. Rid of the excess between the cut and the garden. This fresh, clean line will create a needed distinction between sod and garden beds and give the eye a tidy spot to settle.
2- Cut Back. I love the winter interest of full-grown grasses and perennials, but now, before spring growth begins, is the time to say goodbye to the flowing masses and spent seed heads. As a general rule, cut perennials and grasses down four to six inches above ground.
3- Blanket Beds. Once the perimeter and pruning tasks are done, and ideally before new spring growth emerges, layer garden beds with a three-to-four-inch layer of compost. (I recommend Replenish Premium Compost.) This dark, nutrient-rich top dressing will deliver a finished look that also suppresses weeds and holds moisture. When spring growth begins to pop through, it will now be against a beautiful, dark backdrop that doesn’t distract.
4- Add Color. If you forgot to plant bulbs, it’s not too late to add a pop of spring color to the garden. Run to the local nursery for pansies. I suggest sticking to a monochromatic scheme to create bold drifts of stunning color along the perimeter of front walkways and in pots as a stunning welcome for visitors. These favorite, cold-hardy annuals will last until the intense heat kicks in. (Most annuals are not cold hardy. If you want to consider a variety of annuals, check the Farmer’s Almanac for average freeze dates in your area.)
5- Note Temperatures. Soaring temperatures can be tough on new plantings. Summer heat is on the heels of spring, however, so don’t procrastinate if you want to add new plants to your garden. Before heading to the nursery, revisit your Garden Design Masterplan so there’s no temptation to purchase every beautiful, blooming item available. Stick to the plan knowing it will save you time, money and help you realize your vision.
Niche Homes Landscapes aims to extend your story of home by designing landscapes you love. Applying regional expertise, we will consider your lifestyle and tastes to design plant-driven outdoor spaces that thrive.