Gardening activities of late?

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Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

The two most important activities now, are spring cleanup jobs.  I started cleaning up around my Iris cristata cultivars and other Chinese Iris, but then knowing of a predicted deep freeze, I went out and re-covered all these plants with lots of protective leaf matter.  It's a fine balance, knowing when to cleanup the leaf debris from woodland gardens, if cleaned up too early, one risks removing protective cover from early spring shoots.  Left on too late, then it makes cleanup tedious and difficult, removing old growth yet trying not to damage fresh new growth.  In my garden, the two major areas of cleanup are:

1.  Alliums... must remove the abundant and unsightly old flower stems, which are persistent in many species and cultivars.  While many Allium species are rock hardy and persistent, they are high maintenance regarding cleanup.

2.  Epimedium... leaf and flower shoots appear early spring, so the old persistent stems and foliage on most species, particularly the semi-evergreen ones, need to removed early enough to make cleanup easy.  Cutting back old foliage when the young emerging shoots are intertwined with them, makes for a difficult and tedious job indeed.  Cutting back too early, can remove the protective cover of old leaf debris, making early shoots more susceptible to late damaging frosts.  On truly evergreen species, decide whether the overwintered foliage can/shall remain or not.  This week is my Epimedium cleanup week.  Here are two photos of the evergreen Epimedium x 'Black Seas' that I decided looked tatty enough this year to cut off the evergreen foliage, the fuzzy coiled red flower stems ready to go.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

I removed all the old leaves last week from all my epimediums, except one.  This, when buds can barely be seen on some, and nothing on others.  The only one I didn't clean up was Orangekönigan.  Second flush leaves are toast, but the first leaves still look good.  I'll probably end up cutting them too, in the end.  Oh yeah, davidii is pretty good too.  Hellebores seem to be holding up better than usual, despite the third driest March on record here.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

McDonough wrote:

The two most important activities now, are spring cleanup jobs.  I started cleaning up around my Iris cristata cultivars and other Chinese Iris, but then knowing of a predicted deep freeze, I went out and re-covered all these plants with lots of protective leaf matter.  It's a fine balance, knowing when to cleanup the leaf debris from woodland gardens, if cleaned up too early, one risks removing protective cover from early spring shoots.  Left on too late, then it makes cleanup tedious and difficult, removing old growth yet trying not to damage fresh new growth.

My goodness, you certainly work hard at this!  We usually do not have constant snow cover through the winter here (these last 2 winters being an exception), and we usually just go out on a warm February or early March weekend while the ground is still frozen and cut off all the perennials tops, regardless of what the coming months will bring.  Survival of the fittest!  ;D

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

I too do the spring cleanup a little by little, but when the sun gets really hot in April (that is hot for us) we do the last necessary tidying work. This winter I have cut down some really big trees making firewood. The cutting of wood and chopping it takes time too. I do not like cutting trees I have planted myself but sometimes it is necessary. And we have got better view of the sea and more sun in the garden!

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

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