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  • Writer's pictureShelley Barnett

The Dirt on Spring

I love the smell of dirt on my hands after they have been scrubbed clean. It means I have been digging in the garden long enough that the fragrant proof cannot be erased.

My joy from gardening is only slightly less than that of my boys' joy from playing in a mud pit. I am similarly all smiles and dirt though nobody takes my picture because of it.

After spending the winter largely inside I am eager to get out into my yard. I jump into spring clean-up mode which reconnects me with the different areas of my garden.

I pick up sticks, rake leaves, cut back dead plants,

add compost, feed my bulbs, pull the first weeds,

spread mulch, put up supports and plant seeds.

Spring is full of potential. I imagine and visualize what could be as I work to realize my vision. Sometimes I create new gardens, A Path to Nowhere or Rocked Garden, while other years I divide and move plants, Divide and Multiply.

During spring clean-up I evaluate my perennials and decide if they need more space or a new location.

My fall blooming anemone had limped along in a spot that was too hot and dry so I moved it to my rock garden for a fresh start.

I also moved my Lady's Mantle and Veronica to give them more space.

It is great to turn a single perennial into an entire border. I had divided and spread my scented geranium multiple times. This year I re-planted it as a border for a new area I am working on.

The flower of this geranium is subtle but it makes a great foliage groundcover.

My Solomon's Seal had also spread quickly so I placed it along the border at the back of my yard.


Tips for Spring Clean-up

Spring Tip: cut back decorative grasses before they send up their new growth.

Spring Tip: rake leaves out of beds early before the delicate perennial shoots show themselves.

Spring Tip: deadhead bulbs after they go by to focus their energy on next year's flower.

Spring Tip: fertilize your peonies when they reach 12" tall.

Spring Tip: put your peony hoops up early so they grow up through them.

Spring Tip: add a soil acidifier to hydrangeas to keep them blue in color.

It's Spring so get dirty while you clean-up and enjoy nature in its many glorious forms.


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