Barren's Spring Clean Up!

We had a break in the rainy (serious pineapple express happening here) weather and I worked in the garden to prep for spring.

I spent time cutting the grasses and trimming the phygelius to a manageable size. I raked up the winter debris and cleared fallen leaves...but only in the spaces where it would keep the garden too wet and damp, otherwise..fallen leaves = winter mulch. I also hunted down the emerging buttercups that love to spread all over.

Lemon Cypress looking a bit shaggy, but it's nice and bright. They have shallow roots and require staking (not sure they were the best choice to create my privacy screen). Bronco grass and dwarf conifers are keeping the garden interesting in winter. Pictured 'Golden Spreader' (abies nordmanniana), 'Golden Tuffet' thuja occidentalis, Chamaecyparis thyoides 'Iceberg, Abies pinsap 'Spanish Fir' and Picea omorika 'Tijn'
The garden is nearing the end of dormancy. It's the ugly time of year, despite my attempts to add in a splash of evergreen shrub or dwarf conifer. 

The loss of the main trunks of our very old snowball tree (viburnum macrocephalum va. sterile) created a mess when it came down after heavy snowfall. We used the new electric chainsaw to cut it up and then the kids helped to haul away the tangle of branchs. 

Daphne odora 'Zuiko nishiki' next to the ancient rhododendron and the stump from the old snowball tree. Puma the cat slinks across the barren garden bed
The snowball tree, see stump above, left us with a gap in the border of our close in garden. It also changes the amount of sunlight this area will receive. I'm excited to move some plants around that will appreciate more light. I kept a few of the newer limbs on the snowball tree so that it might rebound someday. My husbands great-grandfather planted it..probably 85 years ago.

This garden will still receive a lot of afternoon shade from a nearby dogwood tree, so the remaining ferns and hostas will hopefully be alright. I'll find out! I am prepared to dig them up later this spring as that area will get a full dose of morning summer sun.

Pictured above is the bed that is bordered by clumping bamboo 'Green Screen' on the side and two pines in the back and the dogwood tree on the otherside. This is my favorite bed. I have several grass selections, from panicums, to calamagrostis to pennisetum spathiolatum and new last year, deschampsia cespitosa 'northern lights' (that's if the cats don't eat it first). It gets a fair amount of morning and summer afternoon sun with more on the horizon as the tall row of cedars on the neighborning property will be cut down with the sale of that home. More on that later. 

In the winter months, the hardy and native sword ferns stand out as does the white pine 'Louie' in the back. The grasses have been combed and now seem a little skimpy as all else lies in quiet sleep. One of the surprises is that my rosemary has not died due to the frigid temps we had in mid-January. 

This is a colorful bed in the summertime when the cone flowers dominate and the cape fuchsia'a lure the hummingbirds in for a snack. For now, it's resting..except for the blare of the 'blue pool'. #joyof children

A few things are beginning to rouse from their slumber....

sedums are awakening
camellia unfurling

and some things just look better in winter...

Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Treasure Island'

lemon thyme

The work is done and now it's time for the garden beds to wake up! The spring bulbs should be on display in another month and my hope is that by cleaning up now..I'll be able to get a better view of those daffodil blooms.

Cheers, Jenni


  1. Wasn't it wonderful to be out in the garden ? I'm going to have another round today …hopefully !

  2. I am beginning to see signs of life and it is exciting. I can see some color at the tips of my camellia buds. I love the sword fern and want to find some of those. And I am always drawn to pines. I wish I had space for more.

  3. We are also in tidying mode on the plot and in the garden.

  4. It's always exciting to see those new little shoots poking through when all else looks dead. You would think I would be used to it by now, but, somehow, it always surprises.


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to comment on my post. The comment moderator is on and I will approve comments as soon as I can. Thank you for stopping by!

Popular Posts