This is me for the next few months.
On Monday, with the last of the snow having completely melted two days before, I started the tasks of weeding, cutting back, and pruning in the veggie and side gardens — which besides the garlic planted there now — already several inches high — and the annual veggies and herbs arriving as seedlings in five weeks also hosts a honeysuckle, a thriving buddleia, unthriving hollies, dozens of crocosmia bulbs, elderberries, various asclepias (milkweeds; and I spotted a small milkweed bug, Lygaeus kalmii, already!), perovskia (Russian sage), rosemary, bloodroot, weedy anemone, blueberries, pink and blue vervains, an ever-growing lemon balm, two lilacs, a couple of different kinds of phlox, echinacea, tiny fritillaria (F. meleagris) bulbs, asters, monarda (bee balm), tulips, and a dwarf cherry tree. I usually add some annual ornamentals in these beds, too: cosmos, zinnias, marigolds, calendula, nasturtiums, a butterfly mix.
Yesterday, I spent 4 hours doing the same (weeding, pruning, cutting back) in the corner-side and front gardens, whose inhabitants include a weeping ‘Jade’ crabapple, more crocosmia and little fritillaria bulbs, five kinds of hostas (three each of Patriot, Loyalist, So Sweet, Gold Standard, and Halcyon), mounds of irises, some ‘Olga Mezitt’ rhododendrons (small, though, like azaleas), a few peony bushes in too much shade, a bunch of leucothoe and some Pieris japonica (Andromeda), various species of perennial geraniums, perennial mums, two euphorbia, red lychnis (catch-fly), six amsonias, three large baptisias, more asters, several kinds of sedums, some dianthus, a couple of Red Fox’ veronica, centaurea (perennial bachelor buttons), daisies, caryopteris, a struggling Nishiki willow tree, a campanula, several lupine plants, some blueberries, a spring bush pea (Lathyrus), a few kinds of thyme, a pasqueflower, some echinacea, a daisy or two.
And — the plants I spent two of those four hours cutting back and hopefully rejuvenating, 4 very large (and utterly beautiful when in bloom) Rhododendron catawbiense that came with the house as foundation plantings. My arms are now covered in red scratches and welts from standing inside the shrubs with loppers and pruners, holding back branches with one arm, protecting my eyes from sharp pointy twigs with another, while hunting for the right places to make cuts with my third arm to a.) reduce each shrub’s overall height without staging an ugly massacre and b.) remove at least 8-years’ accumulation of dead branches from within the depths.
I also planted peas.
Today is a day off. I spent the morning talking with permaculture friends about nut trees, veggie and fruit crops, the arrival of spring, compost (can one ever say enough about it?), farmers markets and CSAs, vernal pools, landscape and design, citrus and tropical fruits we can’t grow, and octopuses.
I hear you – clean up time has definitely arrived, and I have endless opportunity for my compulsive weeding tendencies. Bittercress, watch out – here I come!