The Lazy Gardener

My thoughts have turned to getting the garden ready for this season. The snow has melted, and now I get to see what's alive and what's dead. The cleanup has begun ....

Removed dead plant material from plants that died back over the winter (normal dieback, but I was too lazy to do it last Fall).

Put down a fresh coat of pine bark mulch (I swear by it, it REALLY DOES improve the soil!). This is a quick and easy way to make your yard look good - neatness counts here.

Pruned shrubs to remove dead limbs and those broken by the heavy snow. This year, I knew I would have to put on a shower cap and crawl underneath the hollies to thin them out. I have Dwarf Burford Chinese Hollies (ouch!), which do really well in the sheltered location on the east side of my house, so well, that they need to be sheared annually, and pruned every few years. They are supposed to be DWARF hollies, but I don't think they understand that. In any case, after spending a few days clipping a few branches here and there, and agonizing over what to do (not to mention, what to do about the Cottony Camellia Scale infestation), I called Jessie Smith. We looked, we discussed, and we agreed the best thing to do was to cut them "low" and then allow them to regenerate. This also removed the Cottony Camellia Scale pest problem at the same time without requiring any spraying. Many thanks to Jessie Smith and Dianne Oden for pruning the hollies! 'Lest anyone think I was taking advantage of them, I promised them an afternoon of weeding in exchange.

Re-set the scalloped concrete edging (soil flows horizontally. I am not making this up. This is why I need to do this every year). This year, while cleaning up on the hillside garden, I found termites had moved into the rotting landscaping timbers. So, I removed and trashed the timbers, and relocated bricks from elsewhere on the property and installed them in their place.

Cleaned the "pond" of dead leaves and other junk and put in fresh water and a mosquito dunk.

Raked the pine bark nuggets under the pine and mixed them with fallen pine needles. Pine needles make a great mulch and soil amendment. I wish I had more of them. Once I did get a few bags full from my parents' yard, and incorporated them into the soil, but now that I have become The Lazy Gardener, my digging times have been minimized. And, nuggets do not deteriorate as fast as other organic mulching materials, and do not need augmenting as frequently.

Next: Planning the garden. Free plants usually accepted!

© Iris H. Mars, 2003.