I love this transitional time, when I can appreciate the last of the winter light on the dried flower heads, and also uncover the newly emerging flowers — periwinkle / vinca minor, hellebores, snowdrops. I’m pretty sure I have some winter aconite (bright yellow tiny bulb) in the backyard; hope to uncover it this weekend.
There are some garden chores that are just chores, but there are others that are more pleasure than chore — for me, raking up winter is mostly a delight. Good exercise too.
I’ve started the spring yard clean-up, even though it’s a little early. My yard is fairly big, I have limited energy, and given my schedule, I pretty much have to do the clean-up over 3 weeks or so, in 15-20 minute daily stints. So I can’t easily wait ’til daytime temperatures are consistently in the 50s (recommend for not disturbing hibernating pollinators); it’s not practical, given my abilities and schedule.
But what I do do, is not compost it all right away — we’re signed up for the Village compost program, but as I’m cutting down the Russian sage, Annabelle hydrangea, etc., and raking up some of the leaf mulch to reveal the tiny snowdrops and other spring ephemerals, I’m just gathering all of that into piles. The front yard piles will be moved by the children and husband this weekend into a big loose pile in the backyard (at least that’s the plan, assuming I can get them all on board), and it’ll just sit there for a few more weeks, giving any hibernating insects in the stalks a fighting chance to find their way out.
Eventually we’ll compost some of the bigger stalks, and we’ll burn any big sticks in our backyard firepit, but some of it I’ll just leave to break down into nice mulch, that I can spread to enrich the soil in the beds. That way, I won’t have to buy as much mulch in May as I would otherwise, so it’s frugal too.
As a bonus, the breaking down leaf mold will help transform our native clay soil into something much more manageable for gardening. (If you *are* buying mulch, triple-milled hardwood mulch will break down better in the soil than most other purchased options.)