Cleanup: time for some careful raking

Beautiful weather today, so I plan on spending a little more time and tackling one of my largest beds. Here's the top part (where I've already done some cleanup the other day and removed the large ornamental grass):


Here's the lower part:

It's packed with perennials, annuals, several different smaller ornamental grasses, a rose, and leaves. Lots of leaves underneath everything. My goal today is to clean up everything except the two large grasses. Nothing special here at first -- just clipping, snapping, and cutting. Here's one of the grasses, prairie dropseed Sporobolus heterolepis.

Actually, it's two grasses, because there was a "baby" one under the parent plant. Must have reseeded there a couple years ago. I may need to transplant that one.

So nothing special technique-wise, but there is a lot of plants to chop, so it takes a couple of full bins of debris before I'm ready to tackle the leaves:

Raking leaves out of a mulched bed that contains tender, just-emerging plants takes a light touch -- it's not like raking leaves off of the lawn. I use my shrub rake for this because it's much easier to control. As I'm raking I'll stay clear of any signs of green.

This is an Agastache of some sort... maybe an Agastache cana, or hybrid, or Agastache rupestris, which is one of my favorite plants. I've got several of those throughout my yard. Hummingbirds love it, flowers profusely, and its foliage has a delicious spicy fragrance that reminds me of root beer.

So a bunch of careful raking, more cutting, and on to the lower part of the bed.

The only thing difficult about the lower part is the rose. It's Morden sunrise and is fairly vigorous, but not quite as much as the Homerun roses are, plus the deer seem to chomp on this one more than any of the others. Deer must have pretty tough tongues and mouths because these are quite thorny! I'll still prune it pretty hard, but not quite as low as I did the other day to the Homerun.

Here's something interesting. It's called "rattlesnake master", or Eryngium yuccifolium.

Looks just like it's botanical name suggests: a cross between a yucca and eryngium (or sea holly). It's spread into two plants now, instead of just the single one I planted! I wonder if it will continue to keep adding plants like this? That would be cool. I love plants that spread, reseed, or multiply.

Ok, a bit more cutting and raking, and all finished!

I need to get those large grasses cut, but my "holding area" is piled pretty high right now. It's where I typically put all of the branches, grasses, and other debris that needs to go through the chipper. So tomorrow maybe I'll fire up the chipper and clear some space.

How long did it take?  1:00 (again, it seemed a lot longer than that!)
Total time spent on clean-up so far this year: 7:15 (7 hours 15 minutes)


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