Cleanup: before and after

In the past I've done detailed posts about cleaning up various planting beds in the spring, in fact, some of the first posts I ever wrote were about spring cleanup. I've since learned a couple of things: first, that reading about preparing a perennial bed for spring isn't overly interesting, and second, that stopping to document the cleanup process really extends the length of the job.

So this year I decided to just take before and after photos of each area, with a little description if there's something notable going on in the photos.


I started with the areas closest to the house so I wouldn't have to look at the ugly any longer. The stairs to the patio were greening up, but with weeds:

The main change here: the sage plant (Salvia officinalis) finally died after five or more years. I'll grow another from cuttings I think, or should I try something new here?

Turning slightly to the right and looking down, the top of the stream area is full of dead mint stems:

Doesn't look much better cleaned up, does it? I really need to redo the stream and get it running again -- I miss it!

Turn around and look under the stairs where lots of potted bamboos spent the winter:

So the pots are out of there and the mulch spread around a bit, but this area won't look "right" until I put some more potted plants out here once it's a bit warmer. Plus now I have a dozen bamboo pots in the walkway.

Turn 1/4 turn left, go under the deck, and you'll arrive at the raised planter that holds the Yellow Groove bamboo. The bed at its base is a mess:

With all of the red deadnettle (or is it henbit?) and wild strawberry removed, you can really see the dead cardoon that really looked more like a globe artichoke -- it's the big dead stem at the left side of the image. I didn't particularly like the leaves on this one, so I'm not too sad about losing it.

Take a couple of sidesteps to the left so you can look down the south side of this same box:

So many weeds! So good to see them go!

Now turn back to the right and take a couple of steps:

I always love cutting back russian sage stems -- so aromatic! There are three volunteer perennials here that were not here last year: a Columbine at the bottom right behind the daylily, a Rudbeckia triloba right in the middle of the photo, and garlic chives just behind the post. I'm not really sure how the garlic chives got so far away from the veggie garden, but this is certainly closer to the kitchen.

Turning around, we see the winner of the "messiest bed, spring 2013" award:

There is a bamboo (Shibatea kumasaca) just out of frame in the lower right corner that marks one end of this bed, and the still-buried-in-leaves banana (Musa basjoo) marks the other. Can you even tell that this is one continuous planting bed? The remnants of three purple fountain grass, and so many weeds!

There are at least a half-dozen Agastache foeniculum in this bed, with a couple of Echinacea purpurea that I had forgotten about, and a Rudbeckia or two. I may plant more of these, but the deer find them -- they won't touch the Agastache. This bed may also end up being too shady for these this year, but we'll see.

I still have to tackle the wild strawberry at the banana end of the bed, but I'll do that when I remove all of the leaves -- maybe this weekend, although it wouldn't hurt to wait one more week I think.

Now go around the right side of that bed, walk forward to about the middle of it and turn to the right:

Sigh... so many weeds. Strawberry here too, but I'll get it when I remove it from around the bananas.

There's plenty more to do in the back, but I'd rather move to the front of the house now to tackle what I can most easily see first...

Not such a big difference before and after here on the walkway as the plants aren't really too substantial yet, so there wasn't much to clean up: some leaves, a few stems. I really need to level those pots again.

Moving past the walkway to the sugar maple tree:

It's nice to have most of those oak leaves gone! I hope to find more plants that love dry shade to fill out the area under this tree more this year, and I'm keeping the Chasmanthium latifolium from reseeding too much -- anybody want some seedlings?

Turning to the left:

Yucca filamentosa, Eryngium planum (not my favorite, but so tough), a few more Agastache foeniculum, and a couple of struggling grasses. It's such a tough spot: sun-baked, really dry soil due to the maple roots, and on a slope so rain doesn't soak in well. It ends up looking pretty nice though, and I'll be adding more new plants to see what else is tough enough to grow here. (The soil mounds for my new-last-year cactus, Agave, and Yucca nana are behind this bed.)

I have to admit that I didn't take photos of every part of my yard as I cleaned -- sometimes I just want to clean up and not worry about photos, you know?

There's plenty more work to do too.

How's spring cleanup going in your garden?


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Lisa  – (April 20, 2013 at 10:35 PM)  

Spring? Snow yesterday! I just gaze longingly out my back windows...someday!

Salty Pumpkin Studio  – (April 21, 2013 at 8:27 AM)  

The more I read you blog, the more I see the hedgerow here full of bamboo.

Cassidy  – (April 22, 2013 at 8:15 PM)  

Looks great! For better or for worse I'm in a rental so I don't have to worry about spring clean up. Although that also means no garden of my own.

Unknown  – (December 20, 2014 at 2:43 PM)  

Even though you posted this a long time ago, in 2013 it is still fun to see your cleanup. And the garden looks wonderful with all good things. Thanks.!

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