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Spring Cleanup

April 8, 2020

With an early spring in Maine this year and little else on my schedule, I’ve been getting a head start on spring cleanup in my garden. I find this one of the most pleasant of garden chores. It comes at a time of year when I am itching to spend time outdoors, when a fifty-degree day feels balmy, and when being warmed by the sun’s rays is a welcome pleasure. Even better, the annoying insects (black flies and mosquitoes) that will make gardening less enjoyable later in the season haven’t emerged yet.

I begin with a garden area that is cluttered with last year’s spent foliage, fallen leaves from nearby trees, and other garden debris.

side slope before

And after a few hours of work, I end up with a neat-looking landscape ready to welcome this year’s new growth. It’s an added bonus that, on this slope, the first growth is the cheerful flowers of crocus bulbs, now shown off to much better effect.

side slope after

24 Comments leave one →
  1. April 8, 2020 10:21 pm

    Those are impressive crocus, probably because they get a good chill there. I will grow them again eventually, but they are not reliably perennial here. I have delayed growing them because they are too expensive to be grown as an annual.

    • April 9, 2020 2:07 pm

      Tony, This is indeed a great climate for growing crocuses. And this early in spring, they’re the only thing blooming in my garden.

      • April 9, 2020 3:36 pm

        When I was a kid, I learned that they were the first flowers to come up through the melting snow to bloom as winter ended. However, I had no idea what snow was.

        • April 9, 2020 4:11 pm

          LOL, We certainly know what snow is here. In fact, it is snowing right now.

        • April 9, 2020 4:30 pm

          Gads! I don’t think my avocado trees would like that.

  2. April 9, 2020 3:40 am

    Hello Jean, I love the vivid purple clumps of crocus flowers, it really pops against the bare beige ground. I also love the “before” and “after” pictures – something that I am hopeless at doing. Will you be gradually adding more crocus to create a “carpet” effect?

    • April 9, 2020 2:09 pm

      Sunil, I don’t plan to add more crocuses here, but I am hoping they will continue to spread on their own.

  3. Harriet Robinson permalink
    April 9, 2020 7:40 am

    Are those crocuses scattered on you hillside? Which species/ variety? I love the purple color!

    • April 9, 2020 2:11 pm

      Hi Harriet, I planted more than 300 crocus bulbs (5 to a hole) on the slope by my driveway in the fall of 2016. The purple ones are C. tommasinianus ‘Ruby Giant.’ Most of the others are a “species crocus mix” from Fedco.

  4. Pat Webster permalink
    April 9, 2020 9:58 am

    Love the clean bed and the crocus, Jean. Finally I’m able to do a little work outside. We took the straw off one bed yesterday and are raking the gravel that always ends up on the grass beside the driveway, a result of plowing to clear the way. The ice on the lake went out yesterday, about two weeks earlier than usual. My crocus are still blooming and giving me lots of pleasure, ditto for snowdrops. The daffodils are a little taller than last week but still a long way from blooming. And with snow predicted for tomorrow, who knows when they will.

    • April 9, 2020 2:14 pm

      Pat, Things are about two weeks ahead of average here, too. Right now it is raining heavily, but it is supposed to turn to snow in the next hour or two. My area seems to be on one of those weather map boundaries; we might get an inch of snow, or we might get six inches. I am hoping for the former; I am in spring mode and more than ready to be done with snow.

      • Pat Webster permalink
        April 9, 2020 4:12 pm

        I’m in the same boat (or under the same umbrella?). currently it is raining but it may turn to snow. I hope not. Hope not for you, either.

        • April 9, 2020 4:36 pm

          Too late for me; snowing heavily here — big heavy, wet flakes.

  5. Kris Peterson permalink
    April 9, 2020 3:02 pm

    What a lovely mass display of crocus!

    • April 9, 2020 4:38 pm

      Kris, They are such a cheerful sight in early spring, when I am so ready to be done with winter. Winter is trying to make a comeback today, but I know its efforts are doomed.

  6. April 10, 2020 11:24 am

    Your Crocuses look like they must be happy! My garden cleanup got done early this year, courtesy of the pandemic.

    • April 10, 2020 8:55 pm

      Jason, We’ve had a little hiccup in our early spring, and my crocuses are currently buried under snow. It won’t faze them at all, though, and they’ll be even happier for the extra moisture.

  7. Molly Wickwire permalink
    April 14, 2020 2:05 pm

    Looks good, After yesterday’s heavy rain will wait till tomorrow to get back out their. Will be calling shortly to confirm or reschedule speaking garden club in June. Stay well. Molly

    • April 15, 2020 10:02 am

      Hi Molly, I very much doubt we’ll have clearance for meetings of ten or more people by June, but I’m happy to discuss possibilities for rescheduling. My own garden club (Foothills Garden Club) is planning a virtual meeting in late April and considering the possibility of virtual tours of members’ gardens this summer. I do think gardening gives us all an extra sanity benefit in these crazy times.

      • Molly Wickwire permalink
        April 17, 2020 3:26 pm

        I agree. Will check with our club president and get back to you

  8. April 14, 2020 7:32 pm

    What a difference! The color of your crocus is gorgeous. I also love being out in the garden this time of year, before the heat and humidity of summer with the accompanying bugs arrive. I want to soak up every moment! How fortunate we are to have our gardens to keep us busy during these trying times.

    • April 15, 2020 10:04 am

      Deb, I couldn’t agree more with your last sentence. My garden gives me something to look forward to and something new to experience each day.

  9. Molly Wickwire permalink
    April 17, 2020 3:23 pm

    What a difference. Love to get out there on days like today, almost like a Fall day. I did quite a bit of clean-up done today. I also agree with reader. Spoke with a friend at the beginning of all this and she was having such a hard time as she doesn’t read much and has no craft projects. (I could give her a few :+) ) Stay well and enjoy that special time in your many gardens. Molly

    • April 21, 2020 3:54 pm

      Molly, I’ve been putting in 1-2 very pleasurable hours in the garden on each sunny day. At this point, I’m about 80% done with spring clean-up. I think, for the first time in memory, I’m actually going to have all my April garden chores done by the end of April. There are some benefits to being under house arrest. 😉

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