You Call That A Cleanup?

So here we are in late January and winter still hasn’t put up much of a fight.  I fought the urge last time and took the Christmas lights down instead, but this weekend’s rain and above freezing weather was too much and it broke me down.  The snowdrops are coming up all over the front foundation beds and of course I need to see them clearly… plus the ski season stinks.

late winter garden cleanup

This is the after picture, and is probably as good as cleanup gets for this bed.  The keenest eyes may spot a few snowdrops 🙂 

I have a tendency to do my spring cleanups early but this winter you barely know if it’s a really late fall job or if this already qualifies as spring.  Time will tell.  One thing you can be sure of is that my need to tidy up every last stray leaf and twig has evaporated as I get older.  Older and wiser maybe?  The leaves disappear quickly as new sprouts come up and hide them, and they’re small enough that they break down into the soil again before summer is too far along.  If they were bigger and tougher leaves like oak or sycamore I’d rake them off and run over them with the mower before throwing them back on the beds, but they’re not and that makes for a quick tidying up.  The twigs and stems and cut back hellebore leaves were carted off to the back yard,  I didn’t want to attract too much attention running them through the mower in January since I just recently made fun of my neighbor for doing the same.

overwintering lettuce

Verbena bonariensis and lettuce seedlings, both surviving the cold just fine.  It will be interesting to see what all makes it through the winter this year… assuming we don’t get slammed in March.

Maybe I’ll run all the trimmings through the mower in February.  The ten day forecast shows a dip in to the teens and then another warming trend through Groundhog Day and beyond, so early February doesn’t look any more promising for snowy slopes than January was.  I’ll try to cope 😉

21 comments on “You Call That A Cleanup?

  1. We still have snow on the ground–but not enough to ski on.

  2. There’s still snow on my yard. Surprisingly, all that rain yesterday didn’t melt it all away! On Friday, I cut the branches off the Christmas tree and put them over some of the more delicate perennials, in the hope that they’ll help keep the snow from melting and offer some protection from all these freeze/thaw cycles we seem to get lately!

    So no snowdrops here, but the first amaryllis of the season is about to open in my living room!

    • bittster says:

      Smarter people keep a few flowers on the windowsill and thereby avoid the nonsense of trudging through cold mud looking at flowers in the dirt! Someday I’ll learn… or not 😉
      I’ve been remarkably lazy about protecting things this winter. Even my most precious snowdrops are on their own. We are going to see just how hardy things are this year!
      Stay warm. It looks sunny this morning, but the icicles are definitely not melting.

  3. March Picker says:

    Looks pretty clean to me! Sorry you haven’t gotten the snow you’re hoping for. There’s time…

    • bittster says:

      Clean enough, right?
      btw I’m still looking at dahlias. I keep trying to convince myself that I don’t have room but if we get just a little more cold I might break 😉

  4. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    It looks like you even combed the grass. ha… I think it looks very neat. The garden wins when the slopes aren’t full of snow. We had people mowing when it was December. Not this month. It has been a bit colder and lots of frost so things aren’t growing much. I do have snowdrops up. You have many up now. I can see them in this flower bed. I need to get out and pick up sticks. The wind this winter has kept me inside. Brrrrrr

  5. We finally had enough snow to cover the ground but temps are in the 30s and rain coming so it may disappear. A different winter than the last few, but strange in its own way. Can’t believe you have no snow and people are mowing! But how lovely to see snowdrops in the winter.

    • bittster says:

      I’m imagining that we stole this winter from two zones south. If it weren’t for the sudden ups and downs I would be planting crape myrtles again… but i learned that lesson a few times over already.
      Unless I didn’t. Then maybe I should try a crape myrtle for the fourth time. Hmmmm. Might as well add a “hardy” camellia as well. Oh the strains of spring fever on a cold day!

  6. Eliza Waters says:

    It has been an extra mild winter so far except for the two cold spells a month apart. But I do wonder what the next two months have in store. I’m still keeping an anxious eye on the wood supply. It ain’t over yet!

    • bittster says:

      Oddly enough even with the warmer winters, spring has still been all over the place, and March and April have seemed rather cold. I find it extremely annoying when a super mild winter is followed by a March blizzard.

  7. I am so envious of you and other who have snowdrops already! Although it has been a mild winter, and I planted a patch of snowdrop bulbs from Scheepers last fall, not the tiniest sliver of a shoot has made its appearance yet. The area is visible from my kitchen window (a nearby area was planted with Eranthis at the same time) but nothing to be seen yet. This coming week is supposed to be in the high 40s and low 50s so we shall see. I think the witch hazel is thinking about opening a few flowers, though….

    • bittster says:

      Hmmm. It’s kind of late to still expect snowdrops in your zone, but new bulbs are often later than expected…
      I’m realizing that witch hazels are all over the place as well. My new ones from last spring are also just thinking about maybe blooming, the ‘pallida’ that has been here is in full bloom on this 23F morning, with a frosting of snow. Kind of cool in my opinion 🙂

  8. You’re making me think it might be time to start on clean up myself. Supposed to get up to 50 degrees next weekend.

  9. Annette says:

    I’ve started my clean up too and as I shred everything on the spot and put it back on the borders it doesn’t look neat until the growth covers it again. Good to see that winter has treated you kindly, Frank, when even Verbena and lettuce have survived so far. And of course, those delightful snowdrops to cheer us up – they really make me love winter 😉

    • bittster says:

      I tried the same method this spring. A trip through the mower and then right back on to the beds! Usually I find some prettier mulch for the front yard and use this stuff in back, but prettier mulch just seemed like too much work this year.
      Isn’t it nice to see things growing again? I only just glanced at your annual visit to the snowdrop woods, I need to check back this morning!
      Have a great weekend 🙂

      • Annette says:

        Oh it is, can’t wait for spring! Once I put out the shredded stuff I add a layer of compost or well rotted manure which makes it look neat again ;). Have a good weekend too

      • bittster says:

        I usually try to top off the shredded stuff with something neater, but this year the neighbors have been cheap about dumping shredded leaves in the woods. I might have to buy something…

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