Perennial Border Clean Up

It's another gorgeous, sunny, record-breaking warm day here, so I am writing from outside:

Since it's so early in the season, there is nothing to do but enjoy the sunshine. We did everything we needed to do yesterday, including cleaning up the perennial border.

The perennial border out front is mostly in good shape, and the biggest pain of its clean up is already done. All that was left was to trim back some of the dead stems that I didn't get to in the fall clean up. Some of that was on purpose, as the chrysanthemums still had some life left in them; other parts were just laziness. Anyway, we raked out some leftover leaves, trimmed away parts of plants that had died back, and gave everything a good once-over:

These are our baseline photos of the perennial border for March. There's actually quite a bit going on in there — lots of plants starting to come up, and not just the bulbs. It's hard to see it in these photos because they are small, but daffodils and Siberian squill are definitely up and should bloom this month (some squill already has, if you look closely at the bits of blue near the front of the border). Some tulips are also poking up, and I am not sure if the rest are lagging or if they have been eaten by the squirrels. Lots of other perennials are poking through too, which is totally insane for this time of year. More on the specifics of that next time.

While I was tidying and fussing with small plants, Kirk was trimming the boxwoods on either side of the porch:

I don't think we've ever taken care of that before May, in any place we've lived. The rhododendrons next to the boxwoods will wait to be trimmed until after they bloom so we don't lose their flowers.

I had to work hard to cut back the now-woody stems of the chrysanthemums--a total pain. The other thing that was hard to trim back was this artemisia:

This variety is called "Silver King," and it stayed looking good for so long into December that I never trimmed it back. It looked pretty sad, though, all flopped over and dead, so I cut it back now. There seem to be buds on those branches, so I am hoping this pruning encourages it to be a little bushier — it was pretty leggy last year when I brought it home from the nursery in August. Hopefully I didn't cut it too hard. I'm not sure if this variety behaves more like a perennial or more like a shrub, so it was a gamble to trim it back so much. Guess we'll find out in another month or so.


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