Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

Spring Cleaning: Light Version

20150504The laidback gardener does practically no fall cleanup (he trusts that Mother Nature knows how to take care of his plants)… but in the spring, there a modicum of cleaning to do.

Collect any waste that has found its way into your garden: paper, plastic bags, frisbees, etc. Also pick up any branches that have fallen off trees during the winter. Yes, do rake up and compost fall leaves that have accumulated on your walkways and driveway, but not those that fell into your flower beds, as they are already decomposing and enriching your soil. Most will disappear on their own over the coming weeks and as to those that are slower to decompose… let’s just call them “mulch”, and you don’t have to pick up mulch! As for any stems of perennials that are still standing, snap them off at the base and lay them on the ground at the foot of the plant that had produced them. After all, as they decompose, they too will enrich the soil.

And there you go: you’ve finished your garden’s spring cleanup and your coffee isn’t even cold yet!

If you are lucky enough to have a wooded area on your property, congratulations: you’ll have even less cleaning up to do than the average gardener. Indeed, while you may want to do a quick cleanup of flower beds that border the woods, in the forest itself, minor irregularities are simply not visible and so you have no cleaning at all to do… except maybe picking up wandering papers and plastic bags. Make this your motto and your gardening life will be much simpler: a forest takes care of itself!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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