A little cleanup

I'm a bit behind on cleanup in the garden this year. Although I've been spending time getting some beds into shape, there are others that I haven't touched yet. A few of these are big jobs that will take a couple of hours, but some of them are little things that I can do in 5-10 minutes.

An example of a quick one is this bamboo. The bushy growth at the base of the left side of this plant is unattractive, and it has to go.


I've been leaving it alone under the thinking that this bamboo needs every leaf it has for a couple of years until it really gets established.

Well a couple of years have passed now, so these can go! A couple of minutes with the pruners, and the plant is transformed:

Now that's bamboo!

Maybe a little bit of privacy has been lost, but the more attractive plant makes up for it I think.

Moving from one of the 10-minute projects to one that's going to take some effort, we see the patio -- which really hasn't been touched yet:

There are old vines to be removed, sedges that need trimming, and cracks that need to be weeded. What first? How about the vines:

I let the Spanish Flag vines take over last year, and I'm not going to do that again. There's nothing special going on here -- to clean it up I'll just yank all of the dead vines down. They're draped over my spirea, which for the first time in several years I didn't prune. Besides being a little lazy this winter, I decided I want that plant to get a bit bigger than it has been, so no more than just a couple of cleanup cuts right now.

Looking to the left, there are a couple of different sedges. Carex 'Ice Dance' is fantastic and spreads quite vigorously. Although the foliage looks pretty good, I'm going to cut it back anyway. It looks good by "I haven't seen too much green for a few months" standards, but once everything else is fresh and lovely these few brown blades and tips will look horrible.

I really should have done this a month ago.

The 'Beatlemania' sedges next to them won't be getting a haircut. It's really too late for them I think, as they've already "flowered":

So I'll trim some of the brown blades to make them look more presentable, but that's it. Again, I should have done this a month ago when it would have been fine to mow them down.

Moving down to the patio "floor", there are a lot of weeds in the cracks:

I'm not sure what this low-growing weed is, but the trick is to get it pulled without pulling out all of the soil from the cracks.

Not always possible. At least the dandelion came out pretty easily:

That takes care of the dandelion problem down here...

Ah shoot. Maybe not.

Wait, they're even growing in the retaining wall?

After some careful work with a screwdriver -- which is an excellent tool for digging in these cracks -- and a rake, and some pruners, and the hedge trimmers, the patio cleanup is finished:

By "finished" I really mean just for today. Leaves will blow back down here, weeds will grow again, and it will need some touch-ups a few times during the summer. (Especially the chairs, which the birds will help to "dirty" all summer long.)

But for today, the patio's looking nice again -- and that's one more area off the cleanup list for this year.


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Mud  – (April 19, 2011 at 9:19 AM)  

Remember that the young dandelions can be used for salad greens! If you're going to go through the effort of pulling them out, you might as well get to eat them.

Alan  – (April 19, 2011 at 9:33 AM)  

What's the definition of "young"? I'm pretty sure the ones growing in the patio cracks are no longer young, as they have several spent flowers on them already.

I rarely notice dandelions when they're young, so never think about eating them, but I'll try to keep watch for fresh leaves. Thanks for the tip!

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