Spring Clean-Up


What?! Dead trees again?! Actually no. Take a look at what’s beneath them. See all those leaves? Every cultivated garden bed in my yard looks similar to that. And it’s going to for awhile yet.

I postpone my spring clean-up until at least May most years. Some years, things happen and the beds never get cleaned out. In that case, I call this “mulch.” Nothing terrible happens to my plants. I don’t harbor over-wintering insects (at least not the bad kind–more on that later) and I don’t have a whole slew of fungal diseases.


So why–or perhaps more important–how can I tolerate this look–in my garden beds? (Here’s what this really looks like, with some of the spring foliage coming up through it, in my “wildlife garden”.)

It’s pretty simple: These leaves are sheltering all kinds of over-wintering things: good bugs like spiders, over-wintering larva of mourning cloak butterflies. The stems of the upright perennials may be sheltering bees that use hollow stems like mason bees (which don’t sting, by the way). I have ant colonies under here (and you know that I love my ants and consider them pollinators). I have earthworms. I know that I have ground beetles because I see lots of them all summer.

So I ask you–with all that “goodness” going on here, could you put up with some ugliness for a bit into the spring?

Because I tell you, I sure can!

4 thoughts on “Spring Clean-Up

  1. The Naturarian April 14, 2019 / 7:16 am

    I’ve cleaned up my ‘leaf-beds’, however I just pile the leaves off to the side until everyone wakes up.

  2. gardendaze April 14, 2019 / 12:53 pm

    There was a time when I did that. Then I raked up a snake. Mind you, I have no fear of snakes–I just tried to carefully place it back where I found it. But that’s the point at which I decided nature wasn’t ready for me to disturb it anymore.

    If your approach is working, I wouldn’t change a thing!


  3. gardendaze April 19, 2019 / 7:13 am

    Yes. I was just admiring my neighbor’s nicely cleaned and mulched beds and then contrasting them with mine. Luckily when the greenery comes in, this is all hidden.


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