Let the gardening begin!


Call me desperate, and I won't argue with you.  I'm just a Mid-Atlantic gardener unaccustomed to months at a time without being able to work in the garden.  Colder climate gardeners will surely accuse me of whining, or worse, but I've just getting this off my chest.  My indoors-for-too-damn-long chest, and general  corpus, too. 

So when it got into the 40s and I noticed something that actually needed to be done?  Heaven!  After a blessed hour of clean-up, these grasses were no longer falling down into the street and onto the sidewalk. And now that I can see daffodils and bluebells popping up in the hellstrip garden, I know we're on the verge of all hell breaking loose in the spring garden.  Spring here is intense.  You might even call it severe.

With the grass-pruning done, I turn to the raking, of which there's lots stIMG_1651ill to be done.  In my woodland garden it's a big job every year, but a work-out that accomplishes something is the best kind, right?

Warmer temperatures have also prompted emails from new garden-coaching clients, who seem to all want eco-friendly, low-maintenance yet gorgeous gardens – fabulous!  And the more hideous their gardens are now, the better to produce gasp-producing before-and-after comparisons.     

So while I still get excited about the new season in my garden, what's in store for these enthusiastic newbies is far more exciting.  I just hope they remember to take the ugly "before" shots.


  1. I feel exactly the same way! Including guilt at the knowledge that we really do have it pretty good! It’s great to be able to be so comfortably in the garden again. My garden looks so much better with the dead Hedychium, Musa, Canna, etc foliage removed!

  2. I’m so jealous – even though we aren’t that far from you (Souther New England) we are still so covered in snow. I can only see the tops of my ornamental grasses…. grrrrr. This spring can’t come soon enough!

  3. We never really see the white stuff, so it’s not snow that keeps me away from the garden. It’s dark, rain, work, & children’s activities. Hubby thought I was nuts going out with a flashlight to spray the fruit trees in the near dark after work last week. But as it was dry finally, and had become a matter of do it then or not at all ( not to mention it was good for my sanity), he just gave ‘the look’ and kept his lips zipped.

  4. Go Mid Atlantic! It’s supposed to be in the upper 60’s tomorrow in Delaware, so I was planning on cutting back our ornamental grasses too.

  5. I’m just now getting a balcony, and I’m itching to start things. Do you know when stores in DC will start selling bags of compost? I have containers and tiny seedlings but no soil.

  6. In woodland gardens I always try to leave a percentage of the leaves: about 50 percent on a bigger suburban lot with a fair amount of open area – enough to form natural mulch, future fertilizer and then skim off the remainder and if possible place it in a compost area. Anywhere near the house, porch or garage I remove the majority of them as it’s not good for the siding to have it bunched up there. Same thing near AC units and downspouts and walkways. The Solomon’s Seal & Native ferns which have evolved to deal with native tree leaf litter will push right up through even thick litter. However, some of the smaller non-natives (like the Pulmonarias)some care has to be taken to make sure they are not overwhelmed by too much leaf litter or they will rot out. As long as you know the habits of all your perennials you can kind of figure out how to leave or not leave down.

  7. I’m with you. I pulled the covers off my winter veggies, started pulling out the dead leaves, filling the containers for early potatoes, etc.

    Luckily I checked the weather earlier this week and recovered everything before it dropped to 20 degrees last night. But I know spring is almost here and I can’t wait!

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