Spread the love

I love bulbs, but these are still my favorite spring flower.

When I was asked by our local NPR station to do a series on Buffalo gardens and gardening, of course I was happy to help out (i.e., this is a nonpaying gig, like so many I have). My first segment will be on early garden prep, which is still happening here in the Northeast, and perhaps a lot of the upper Midwest as well. I know many of you are way past us.

Of course, the thing is that I don’t do much spring prep. My goal with gardening—in case you haven’t figured this out by now—is to do as little work as possible. Also, I hate to disturb the beds in the early spring. Bulbs are emerging and it’s easy to crush lily buds and mangle tulips and daffodils. I’d rather enjoy my spring flowers than ruin them. And there is soil compaction to consider. But there are a few unavoidable tasks, particularly as I am not big on fall cleanup, either. So I have to finally remove old stalks, surviving dead foliage, and remaining dead leaves. I add some organic amendments for the roses, prune them lightly,  and maybe compost elsewhere. I get as much mileage out of pansies and violas as I can, planting them in containers in early April, with or without bulbs. That is pretty much it until it’s time for serious planting in mid-to-late May. After that,  the season is well underway.

My first radio interviewees are Mike and Kathy Shadrack, Timber Press authors and gardeners known for their hosta expertise and their beautiful terraced gardens above a creek, south of Buffalo. Some of you have visited them. It will be interesting to see and hear what their late April activities might be, as their semirural terroir is very different than mine.

And here’s the giveaway. No doubt you’re doing some kind of pruning or lopping right now, regardless of where you are in your gardening season. Fiskars wants to give away some products from their PowerGear2 series of pruners, loppers and shears. (The company refers to these as “tree and shrub cutting machines.”) You can choose which of these you want. Just tell us in comments about your favorite or most-hated spring prep activity. There will be 5 winners, chosen tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10 a.m. EST.

Posted by

Elizabeth Licata
on April 28, 2015 at 7:52 am, in the category Homestayhelpers Airwaves, Shut Up and Dig.


  1. My most hated spring cleanup is cleaning up after the oak trees have dropped their tassels! Gutters and downspouts get clogged! After that is removing the bush honeysuckles that spring up every where in the Spring!

  2. I don’t know if I hate doing this, but I hate having to do it: cleaning invasive shrubs out of our woods. This overlaps with Gail’s comment, as one of them is Tartarian honeysuckle. The other one is Rosa multiflora. I never get them all, mind you. I just go after the ones bothering me the most, until other chores clamor for my attention.

  3. I only have a small planter in the common area of our courtyard (live in a condo) but I really, really, really hated cleaning up after the roofers were done with our building – yuck! Nails, shingles…you name it it was there. Plus them walking in the beds…but that’s another story. I would put the clippers to work along the path behind the metal car guard (no sidewalks on the main road) that get overgrown by mid summer!

  4. I do as thorough a cleanup as possible in the fall, for two reasons – first of all, the spring weather here in the Finger Lakes is usually so unpredictable that if I waited for good weather, I’d be doing cleanup in June. Second of all, once growth does take hold, it explodes, and I’d end up ripping out most of the new growth with the dead stuff. My biggest pet peeve is trying to find a non-windy day to broadcast my (organic, of course) granular balanced fertilizer. I live on a fairly open corner of a subdivision, and on an average day I’d end up broadcasting the fertilizer all over the damn neighborhood! It’s an event when it’s NOT a windy day here! (grumble, mutter)

  5. My least favorite task is pulling spring onions and violets from the flower and vegetable beds. It doesn’t seem to matter that I’ve been doing this consistently for 11 years, there are always more

  6. Since I garden year round, some of the more typical spring prep tasks happen whenever I can get to them. My most hated is the danged oak leaves & tassels that fall in early spring: not only does the pollen make me miserable but the leaves have to be dealt with for weeks on end. Shoot, I’m still raking, blowing & vacuuming them out of some areas.

  7. Mostly I am just happy to be out in the garden again. That said, there are the dried stalks of last year’s flowers to trim and pitiable attempts to clear out clumps of lesser celadon. And leftover leaves to clear from various hidden corners.

  8. My favorite prep is working & sweetening up the soil. The healthier the soil, the better the plants. Thank you for the chance to win such a wonderful product.

  9. I really dislike cleaning up the rose bushes after winter. There are so many, and they are way too tall. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway.
    ErinLoves2Run at gmail dot com

  10. My most hated spring prep chore is cleaning out the ultra-shallow pond. The way I built it makes cleaning it out totally impractical without removing all the river stones and – get this – individually scrubbing them. Seriously. I actually haven’t done it yet this spring because it sucked so much last year. I might just pitch the stones and paint the copper liner (heresy!) or just dye the water with pond dye….

  11. My most hated task — raking and cleaning up the leaves that didn’t get tended to last fall — becomes one of my favorite things …. after I’ve finished and the garden looks so much better.

Leave a Comment