Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Go Away March!!

Ever been on the TGV in France? What year is it, anyway? Shoot, I still think it's October, and frankly, so does my garden. See....







Caryopteris--click and expand this one



















Only the iris reticulata seem to think it's not fall. I know what March means--an entire day turning the garden into a moonscape, which is what a herbaceous garden looks like after the big cut down. It's ugly. And I wonder how many insects are taking refuge in all that litter, so I begin to feel bad. Lazy. I still have winter things to do. I still have autumn things to do. From a few years ago.

When do you cut everything down? And, do you cut everything down that should be, or leave it up as long as possible for wildlife? Here, birds use every plant for cover and perching.

12 comments:

Susan in the Pink Hat said...

I leave everything in place until mid-March at the earliest. With the exception of grasses, I'll probably wait until the end of March. People don't realize what a big deal soil compaction is.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Soil compaction is a good point that I have to be very aware of in my super duper extra special nasty clay. I cut down in mid to late March simply because it's spring break, and I have some time off to do. I like to leave my grasses until early to mid April, since most are warm season anyway. My shrubs need to grow fast and pick up the structural lack in early spring!

Indoor Fountains said...

Leave it up until the end of the month. By that time some of it maybe used by birds and wildlife.

Indoor Fountains said...

Leave it up until the end of the month. By that time some of it maybe used by birds and wildlife.

greggo said...

I feel your pain. Your and your garden has the herbaceous blues. I started pruning about two weeks ago, mostly salvia, mums, coreopis, catmint, asters, and rudebeckia. Leaving some of the grasses for winter interest. Most of my birds are eating from the feeders.

Elephant's Eye said...

Our wildlife habitat is staying brown and messy. Still afraid we might get hit with a ferocious heatwave, as we did last year. Came back from a week away to find 2 of our 'newly planted in autumn' olive trees - baked to death!

Layanee said...

I cut some in the fall and some in the spring and some never gets cut. It just depends on when I have the time. Are you really grousing about March? At least it is not February and you WILL see green sprouts...oh, you have. What could be better. Get to it!

Les said...

Mushy stuff gets cut in December, brown and rigid comes down when my day off and warm weather combine anytime in January of February.

Benjamin Vogt said...

IF--I'll try to make it until the end of March--last year it was so warm so early that was too late, but this years seems normal again.
Greg--Yeah, my birds eat almost exclusively from the feeders, which is too bad since I seed garden with them in mind.
Diana--I've done that with shrubs! I always forget winter is coming for you. Need I remind you?
Layanee--Part of my issue is once the garden starts going, I get distracted from my writing and research. I grouse. Some of the things I cut down I leave in small pieces as mulch, of course.
Les--Your zone 6, right? What's mushy stuff? Roses and teddy bears and bad chocolates?

Saint Andrew's Bower said...

Forget it...however horrible you think it looks, it has it's own solemn beauty. Nature needs to turn off sometimes, even if human beings don't...

scottweberpdx said...

I think your garden looks brilliant right now...tawny and seductive!

Benjamin Vogt said...

SAB and SW -- I think it's gorgeous, too! I don't want March because I'm not ready to work in the garden. Every year I have winter writing goals, and I've not met them. Once gardening season starts, distractions mount. My brain is still in October, as is my garden.