Last week ‘s Gardenwise was about reconnecting with your garden after a long, cold and muddy winter and I hope you had a chance to do that and that a few rays of sunshine appeared to encourage you! We may still have the cold and the mud for a while yet but spring is drawing nearer with every week, and there are some jobs that are well worth doing around this time if you can manage it, so here are a few suggestions if you’re itching to get outside and get gardening. These will help freshen up the garden and hopefully the air and exercise will freshen up the gardener too!
Cut down dead stalks of perennial plants to make way for new growth. The dry seedheads of some perennials can look well over winter, especially in frosty weather, and many provide valuable food for insects and birds. Their moment has passed now though, and it’s time to cut back the dull brown and black stems – they may look a bit bare for a while but new shoots will be appearing fairly soon.
Tidy up last year’s leaves – these are inclined to linger in drifts and on borders and even if you raked yours up in autumn, the winter storms have probably blown lots in from outside. They make ideal hiding places for slugs and snails so gather them up and get rid of them.
Give ornamental grasses a once over – if they’re deciduous, then treat them as you would perennials (above ), and if evergreen, a tidy up will do. Run a gloved hand through them to remove dead blades / leaves and freshen them up – the gloves will stop your fingers getting cut – and do the same thing with a rake on larger specimens. If they’re looking really ragged, you can chop them down close to ground level and fresh new growth should replace the tired old leaves once the growing season starts.
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