Clean Up, Accent on Azaleas

Everybody knows that roses this full are simply not open yet in Connecticut. Just the other day I was pruning off dead wood as I raked and cleaned around the little green tulip, daffodil and grape hyacinth shoots coming up all over the place.

Clean up

The photo inset lower right, is the large painted door that will replace the iron gate in spring.

I love spring colors. Early spring brings the light greens and bright pastels for Easter. And then, there’s the migration to the out -of -doors! Cleaning up piles winter pine cones and branches. Did anyone else get a ton of tree matter on the ground this winter?

We finally made it back to Albany last week to pick up the iron gate to close the bamboo fence. It will match the new railing. Still can’t wait to get all the finished gates up, but they’re still waiting patiently in the garage. The blacksmith has to first take them away for scouring and painting…it’s going to be a while.

clean up

Yes, the metal edging IS coming up and out. New, and longer stakes on their way….

Waiting is a familiar theme in the new formal garden too. I’ve just started removing the boxwoods burlap hats. I finally planted a small pink azalea a friend gave us for New Year’s. It was full of buds, so I hid it in the carport and covered it up, watering every so often. I read that it’s not too early to put azaleas in the ground here in Zone 5, so I did! The ground is already quite soft. They say to be sure the ground isn’t waterlogged. Noted. It’s not. I’m still not convinced we won’t still get some snow, what do you think?

Here’s a good site for care questions on azaleas and rhododendrons. Azalea roots are so shallow I’m constantly adding a little topsoil/mulch as I rake off the winter leaf covering. Clean upLast year was so minimal for any azalea flowers at all, I’m being very careful, crossing my fingers. They say to add as much as 2-5” of mulch to retain moisture (but keep it a few inches away from the trunk.) Too little water will also adversely affect blooms. Hmm. Got to watch that now. Last year I’m sure I didn’t water enough. You water your decorative plants during the summer if rainfall is less than 1 inch per week. Clean upSometimes, annuals are such a breeze…

Clearing away winter and mulching isn’t a quick job because it’s so easy to do damage. You always have to be much more gentle clearing out leaves than you might think. I try to chunk out that kind of work and do a few bushes at a time. Sometimes, a hand trowel is better then a rake. Each bush gets a little Hollytone too. I’ve reduced dosage to once a year in Spring. Too much can also burn them. Another reason for mulch..coming soon!

In New England, we have plenty of stones to clear in Spring, especially as they multiply in winter. If you can’t lick ’em, join’ em.  Joan Baez & Mary Chapin Carpenter ~ Stones In The Road

Clean up

I highly recommend Paola Pillows after a long day of picking rocks…And subscribe to my blog- take a break after YOUR clean up.

 

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Comments

  1. Joseph Liekweg

    The spring cleanup that gives space to the tulips, daffodils and hyacinths sometimes seems to me unnecessary. I think that those little guys poling up are tough, because they are first up, and because their stems are a little thick. BUT
    It makes me feel good to be making space for them. I like to use a pitchfork to spread mulch because the teeth fit easily between things.

    • I agree about early bulbs being tough nuts. My cleaning up is totally about presentation. They may be tough,those guys, but if they want to thrive in my garden they better look good.

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