“Honey (Dew) Do” list

At our house we call this the honey-do list. You can call it what you want. It’s right up there with gaggy lists that pop up every year, but if you need a little reminder, or if you are new to this elusive art form of gardening, well, here goes:

*Time to rake up the leaves and clean up all the garden beds. All of ’em.

*By March 15th you should have cut your ornamental grasses back to a nicely shaped crown. Tall grasses, like a 5-6 foot miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’, take it back to 12 inches. Smaller varieties, like Little Bunny, can be taken back to 6-8 inches.

*Get to whackin on that butterfly bush. And I mean WHACK! Back to 12 inches total and for most of you, that is shorter than your knees. I mean it. It rejuvenates the shrub, you get a nicer shape, it comes back to a 4-6 foot wonder and it will be full of blossoms.

*Now do the same thing with your blue Arctic willow.

*I selectively go through my red twig dogwoods and thin them back by 1/4th of the total mass, leaving 3/4 of the twigs, but take them back to a desirable height. At my place, mine are kept to about 30 inches.

*You still have fifteen minutes to apply dormant oil spray to fruit trees. If you are applying the oil, read the label. Do NOT apply the oil after green leaves or vegetation appear.

*If you insist on using the stuff, now is the time to apply pre-emergent on lawns – for weeds. Caveat: use one without fertilizer especially if you applied a fertilizer in the fall. Of course, we are talking turf here, so listen up……….

*Is there a way you can lose part of that turf this year? Cut your cord to it? For instance, every year I make the perennial beds another foot wider or deeper. I am encroaching on the turf. I don’t think my husband even notices it. Mulch with something beautiful: creeping thyme, snow in summer, pussy toes. Try one of the new, less invasive ajugas. I am crazy about the one called ‘Black Scallop.’You could even put in a few clusters of ornamental grasses, and if working in front of the border, go with the short stuff like the Little Bunny pennisetum mentioned earlier.

This should keep you busy for another couple of days.