I'm a spring cleaner-upper (vs. a fall one...) for a number of reasons: 1) In the fall I'm usually too busy with preserving the harvest to attempt any clean up; 2) most plants survive
winter better with the cover of the previous season; 3)birds eat the seeds of the dried flowers; 4) and roses and plants need spring pruning anyway. But mostly it's because I've lost my desire to be in the garden come November, lol!
So March and April are all about cleaning up, pruning, and catching those weeds before they become established. Here are my tips for spring cleaning flower beds:
1. Start with the tallest, most overgrown plants first. In this case, the roses and clematis. I cut all of them down to about 2-3 feet. The roses are shrub varieties and we have such a problem with black spot here that I find it's best just to cut the roses back hard. They flower later, but tend to be much healthier (at least in the beginning of the season...sigh). These clematis grow many feet every year, so I cut them back to keep them sized for the trellises. They are obviously the kind you prune in spring, but honestly I've never been able to keep the different types of clematis straight.
2. Prune evergreens if needed. Pruning and shaping will be easiest now, before the perennials grow bigger and make reaching the evergreens more difficult.
3. Moving from one side of the bed to the other, pull weeds and cut off any dead plant parts.
4. Take the time to prune or cut back any existing perennials (see specific examples below).
5. Edge the bed, if needed. If it's a grass border, it will always be needed. At least if you live in the Pacific NW.
6. Lay down newspaper and cover with a mulch of compost or bark.
How are you getting your garden ready for the new season?#Springfever
Over my gardening years plants have come and gone, but a few have proven themselves for the long-haul and get planted in every garden I've had. They include evergreens, flowering shrubs,
and the toughest perennials that truly do come back every year.
These lists of my favorites are not unusual, hard to find, or expensive. I can't justify spending large amounts just to have the newest or most unusual plants. I look for beauty, longevity, and low initial cost all wrapped up in the easiest care possible. And these all fit the bill. They include:
This 10-minute DIY project helped me be able to post the weekly menu at our house and get out of answering the daily "what's for dinner?" question!
I'm always finding unused canvases at thrift stores – the planned work of art not even started is apparently a common occurrence - but canvases at craft stores are inexpensive, too, with one of those coupons that are issued weekly. The only other items I used were sticker letters in two sizes (I used foam letters, but any letter stickers will work), latex paint and chalkboard paint (I've used flat black paint on some past chalkboard projects, so it would probably work too, but I had found a cheap can of chalkboard paint).
It's pretty self-explanatory, but you can find more details on the blog if you need!
I love this canvas-word art-from-thrifted-painting I made so much it became the inspiration and centerpiece for an early spring mantel!
Using the main colors from the art - white and green - I pulled things from around the house to compliment it, including a sweet ivy heart topiary (get it: heart = love, ha!). Adding clear glass candleholders and only a couple pops of yellow round it out, yet keep the focus on my favorite part: the art. A truly simple mantel is always my favorite! #SpringFever
I have a flower bed in my backyard under a huge fir tree. This means any plant that lives under it must like dry shade. I've found it's hard to find plants for dry shade - right now
brunnera, carpet bugle, epimedium and bishop's weed are doing well there, but I'm looking for more. I was happy to recently discover HGTVGardens.com and their plant finder tool which is easy to use and has specific information on which plants will do best in whatever conditions I enter. (Of course there's lots of other things on the site like tips, landscape ideas and photos from gardeners all over the country, in addition to a whole farm-to-table section! But oh, man, is the plant finder tool fun!)
And I found three new plants for dry shade to look for: foamflower, saxifrage, and wild petunia. Now, I just have to find where to buy them!
I transformed an amateur not-so-lovely painting I found at a thrift store for $1.99 into beautiful - and meaningful - art that's perfect on our mantel. I wasn't sure about it at.all. and I surprised myself at how much I love the end result!