Time To Tidy Up

This time of year starts a frenzy of garden to-do lists.  Seed packets are organized, new seed varieties are studied, and plans are being made for the gardens.  Not much can be planted outside now, but the greenhouse space is already filling up.
For my garden, ornamental grasses, climbing roses, and hydrangeas can be cut back in preparation for spring.  Timing for this is usually late winter but it seems late winter came in January this year.
My daffodils were in full bloom by the third week of February and have survived a couple of hard freezes.  You have to be a tough plant to live in my garden and these have garnered much respect this year.
Ornamental grasses can be cut back to make room for spring growth.  In this case, I found blooming daffodils.
Cutting back hydrangeas depend on the type you have.  Some hydrangeas bloom on new wood and some on old wood.  My ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea blooms on new wood, so I can cut them back and get a fresh flush of growth in spring and abundant flowers in the summer.
If your hydrangea blooms on old wood, cutting the plant down will not give you any blooms for the year and that’s just tragic.  In my opinion, summertime shade gardens are not complete without the spectacular blooms of a hydrangea.  If you are unsure what type you have, just leave it alone for a season and it will show you.
If you don’t have time to cut back your new wood bloomers,  don’t worry, they will still bloom.  I just don’t like looking at naked branches mixed in with blooms.  Not that you can really see them but, by March, my pruning disorder has kicked in and makes me a crazy, twig-trimming women.  From now until fall, pruners will be part of my wardrobe, snug in my back pocket, ready to be whipped out at a moments notice.
Sometimes, as I’m trimming up plants, I find surprises.
These are praying mantis egg sacs.  They are so tightly woven, they are almost impossible to penetrate.  This particular shrub had five on it.  Considering each case holds approximately 300 babies means I will have an army of bug eaters working for me this summer.  Unfortunately, praying mantis cannot distinguish good bugs from bad bugs.  I have seen them pounce on a grasshopper, munch on a spider and, sadly, eat a butterfly.  I read they will also eat bees, mice and small frogs.   I can only hope they develop a taste for moles because, looking at all the tunnels I have in my yard, I must have hundreds.
What’s happening in your garden?
sunflower emoji
I am linking this post to the Chicken Chick Blog Hop

20 thoughts on “Time To Tidy Up”

  1. I love this walk through your early Spring garden, Brenda! Our Winter season has been crazy in Illinois, too. We had a very snowy December, but haven’t had any measurable snow since. That has never happened in the past 146 years! We had two very warm weeks in February. During the first week of March, we have experienced all four seasons! So crazy!
    During those warm February days, gardening fever struck me. It’s much too early to clean up my garden beds. But I have been moving the dried leaves aside just to take a peek, and then covering them again. I have been busy raking up hundreds and hundreds of pine cones in the back yard. This afternoon, I’m planning to cut back my ‘Anabelle’ Hydrangeas, too. Hydrangeas are my very favorite garden flower!
    It really warms my heart to see your daffodils in bloom! We have more and more Spring foliage popping up each day. As I take my walks through the garden, I often whisper, “It’s too early.” (I wonder if they listen?) I guess this crazy weather cycle will make us all a bit hardier. Wishing you happy days in your garden, Brenda! ♡

    • Yes, this year has been crazy for weather. I can’t believe my daffodils bloomed so early. I was talking to mine, too and telling them the same thing. “it’s way too early” Mine didn’t listen! lol

  2. I am looking at a lot of clean up also. Trying to get motivated before any real heat sets in. Hey, any suggestions for eliminating a huge aphid infestation on lettuce and and spinach in a green house?

    • I have used yellow sticky traps for the greenhouse and in the garden. Aphids are attracted to yellow. There is also some stuff called tanglefoot and this can be put on a yellow plastic cup in the greenhouse. Good luck, they can be a huge problem.

  3. As much as I don’t miss those spring cleaning days, I do miss hydrangeas since moving to zone 10. I know they’re sold in garden centers here, but I’m not sure if they behave more like an annual than a perennial shrub. Thanks for sharing yours.

  4. Sure is nice to see your daffs in bloom. It’s far too early for them here. Mine are just breaking the surface. BUT, for the first time ever, i’ve got the flowerbed clean-up completed and the beds mulched — all before President’s Day!!! I still have the backyard lawn to reseed — bad Max!!! — and the vegetable bed to refresh but it’s too early for any of that. For now, weather permitting, I just stroll around and admire the mulch. It’s the little things that make me happy. 🙂

  5. In our garden, we are repairing trenches the armadillos dug and assessing how many lantana starts we need to replace what it dug up. Also, husband found his lost radish seeds, haha! And a crow that visits us is smart enough to know a row when it sees one and to investigate. The seed is treated to taste bad, but when it’s uncovered it does not sprout too well. 🙁
    I have a honey question, if you don’t mind….
    We were at a farm store and found they were giving away local honey b/c they said it was too wet and would spoil. Well, it nearly blew up in our cupboard. Haha. It has a stiff foam filling the top half of the jar–barely spoonable–with the bottom filled with what appears to be honey. All tastes like honey. Even the foam is sweet and honey-flavored.
    Is that what they meant by “spoil”? And is it usable?

    • Possibly referring to fermentation of the honey? Or If there is too much humidity the moisture content of the honey is too high. This happens when they spinoff uncapped honey or have wet, humid conditions. Capped honey is a consistent 17% moisture content. You can eat it if it smells ok. It’s more likely sweeter than normal honey and would be great to cook with. Or if it ferments, make mead! (Honey wine)

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