Sunday, February 2, 2014

Groundhog Day

There has been a surprising lull in the bitter cold, and groundhog day has been warm.

It was 51 degrees, and very still, nice enough to put on my garden chaps and go outside to clean up fallen plant stalks.

I left almost everything standing this fall instead of cutting back perennials, and I am not happy.

Seedheads on the black eyed susans and some other sturdy stalks are still standing and were great for the birds. They still look nice. But asters and amsonias and the grasses and other perennials have simply laid down in the mud and created puddles where snow collects around the mashed down stalks.

The grasses self destruct in winter wind, so I have light tan fronds of dry grasses blowing all over the place, collecting at the foot of shrubs and burying some things. This is not good.

So today I got the fragrant asters cut back and the amsonias by the back corner. The St. Johnswort had to go. I tried using the hedge trimmer, but that only worked on slender astilbe stems, I had to cut the tough fibrous stalks of the other plants by hand.

I didn't get much done when it started to spit rain. But it felt good to be out there for just half an hour, attending to things, even if only a few plants were tidied up and there is so much more to do.

It will all wait for spring. The groundhog and the weather forecast both predict a lot more winter to come.

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