Don’t tidy the spring garden too early

It can be tempting to get out there on the first fine spring day and do some tidying. Resist the urge! You have very little to lose and much to gain from waiting.

That blanket of dead foliage and tree leaves is protecting emerging plants from cold snaps – like the one we expect this weekend. And the leaves are breaking down, ready to feed your soil. Leave them! Trust me.

After all that waiting, there’s nothing is worse than having your emerging buds nipped to tatters by freezing rain.

When other people are raking the leaves off their beds, I’m collecting mine from windblown corners to pile them back on and give my garden one last round of winter protection. The housekeeping habits that might work well indoors are not your friend in the garden – not in early spring in Toronto.

8 comments

  1. Always leave my leaves! Mulch and fertilizer all in one even if the garden looks a bit messy at the moment. The daffodils and tulips will be blooming above it all soon.

    1. How right you are, Katherine. Though I admit that I encouraged my natural tendency to procrastinate this spring, and was glad I did.

  2. Yes, yes! A mild weather pattern here in Spokane in Feb pushed temperatures to 60 degrees, and I happily puttered around the garden cleaning up and trimming back hellebore leaves. Then the next week the temperature dropped to zero and many of my hellebore flower buds turned to brown mush. So sad. Maybe they’d have done that anyway, but I think that removing their leafy cover was a bad move.

    1. It’s so tempting to welcome spring with open arms after a long winter, VW. And, another year, you might have been fine. That’s gardening!

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