Now that spring/summer has finally decided to really come into its own, it’s time to start looking at getting your yard and garden back up to their state of botanic glory. Let’s be honest, however; this winter was hard on your poor little plant babies, and if you have a large yard and/or garden, the enormity of the clean-up can be overwhelming. This is especially true if you’re a new property owner or honestly just don’t have the time to care for it properly between the kids and the 9-5 grind.
This is where we come to the rescue, dear reader, and lay the cards on the table. Shall we begin?
The first step is to not let yourself get overwhelmed with the possible enormity of the project at hand. Sure your gardens may sport more dandelions, grass, creeping charlie, etc than they do actual plants; and your grass may be rough and uneven looking (possibly even dead in patches) but that’s okay. A little bit of love, and some elbow grease and you’ll have your garden back to its former glory in no time.
Your next step is to take stock of the situation, and form a ‘battle plan’. Start with the more obvious things – such as raking up dead leaves or cutting back dead branches of your taller plants. These are usually what overwhelm most people – as they’re the most visible and intimidating; also you never know what you may catch with the teeth of your rake, or if you’ll cut down too far and accidentally kill your prized rose bush. The trick to that is simple: take it slow and be gentle.
Raking is a boring task in and of itself and can be a strain on your back, but it is well worth it in the end as that way you can see what needs to be pulled, thinned, or pampered. I’d recommend holding off on the raking until you’ve finished cutting back dead stalks, errant branches on your shrubs, and reeds of your taller, fuller plants, as that way you’re not doing it repeatedly and driving yourself nuts in the process.
With the ‘big’ stuff out of the way, and your gardens now cleared of debris, you can now sit back with your favoured beverage and take a gander at just how many weeds that have decided to take up residence where they’re not welcome. Weeding is something most gardeners dread, as it’s considered one of the more tedious aspects of keeping your garden healthy and beautiful, but I’ve got a secret for you. It’s actually one of the most relaxing aspects of the whole ordeal, especially if you take to weeding earlier in the day, or just after a good rain.
Why then? Simple – in the mornings you’ve got the dew/mist/rain that will at the very least soften the earth around those troublesome weeds, making them that much easier to pull. Also, it’s not nearly half as hot in the earlier hours of the day, and you’re possibly still in the waking-up process so you don’t pay quite as much attention to the time. If you’re not into kneeling on the ground and carefully selecting leafy greens to yank because they’re invading your designated beauty-area, you can always mix up a weed-killing agent with stuff you can find around the home or in stores.
Lawn care, thankfully, is a touch simpler. The dead patches of grass in your yard can easily be erased with some grass seed (found in your local hardware or gardening store). I recommend clearing the dead grass to reveal open earth, as this will allow the grass seeds to take to the dirt more easily, and watering occasionally if it hasn’t rained in awhile. I would also suggest holding off on cutting your grass for a little bit. Wait until it’s nice and green and starting to grow decently, then bring out that mower; also for your first cut, you may wish to consider mulching the grass as that will fertilize your lawn and leaving it just a touch longer than you usually would. This is to make sure you don’t expose the root system to any possible late-coming frosts that are so common in Canadian springs.
Now this does seem like a lot to do, and let’s be honest, you’re a busy person; so if you can’t find the time to accomplish this, or perhaps just aren’t that confident in your green thumb, fear not for there is still one more solution for you! There are landscaping companies that would love to assist you with keeping your outside looking like the front of a gardening magazine, some at a reasonable price, some at a wince-worthy one. Green Ninja (located in our very own London Ontario) will offer you fair prices and a beautiful finished product.
But I’ve kept you long enough, and if you’re like me, you’re itching to get out there with your gardening gloves and hat; however, I would like to offer just one more piece of advice before you go out and terrorize the weeds that dared pop up in your garden.
If you are not (at the very least) reasonably confident in what needs to be done, please consult a professional or look it up online. Cutting your prized rosebush back too far, or shaping your bush in a way that could expose certain parts, could kill them and we don’t want that. So please exercise caution and remember, it’s okay to not know, as we’re only human and can only know so much from our own experiences.
Otherwise, good luck and happy gardening!