A Great Day for Garden Work

“A Great Day for Garden Work”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Saturday was a fabulous day. It was the first day in ages that I was able to do some very needed work in the garden. For a change the weather cooperated, and my lately very complicated life cooperated to give me hours and hours to garden. What I was finally able to do was some overdue cleanup from this winter. I cut back freeze damaged branches on the hydrangeas, cut back the green shell ginger, and worked on the patio bed.

Most of my time was spent on the bed surrounding our back patio. This past winter, which was unseasonably cold for us like it was in so many areas, actually did me a favor by killing things back. There were several plants that had just grown too much and were taking over too much area. When things are growing for several years, it is often so easy not too see that they are becoming too big and need to be cut back. I do have a problem cutting things back especially if they are in flower. With certain plants, I have got to learn to be ruthless and not just do a little trimming.

One plant that had taken over was the creeping Mexican petunia. I did pull up some last year that was encroaching into other plants, but I should have never let it get as large as it did. This winter killed it back with just a few plants starting to come back. After cleaning out an area about three feet by three feet, I am determined not to let it spread that much again.


Area under birdbath cleaned out of creeping Mexican petunias


The next group of plants that I tackled was the holly ferns. This is where I spent most of my time, cutting out the old, damaged fronds, so the new ones would show up better without the brown or yellowing ones around. I filled two 50 gallon trash bags with the old fronds and put them aside to use to refill the compost bins. After cleaning up the holly ferns, I realized they were not as big as I thought. I had seriously considered moving some because they were crowding other smaller plants. Now, I won’t have to – time saved for other tasks.


Before Cleanup








There were a few bright spots I found as I cleaned up this area of the garden. I found that the Blue Daze is coming back. After I trimmed away the dead stems, there were several stems with green leaves showing. I am so glad I didn’t just yank the plants out. When I pulled away the mulch that I had hastily placed just before a severe freeze, I found several cannas already sprouting up, as is the night-blooming jasmine.

While working on this particular bed, I did make some decisions about its future. I think I am going to make it less work by moving some plants to other areas of the garden and using more mulched areas here. There seems to be too much in this bed. I am thinking about removing the daylilies, sages, and the Triumphator lilies and having this area mainly holly ferns, hostas, and amaryllis. I think this will make a little less maintenance work and give a neater, more serene look which would be nice next to a patio where we like to relax.

All in all, it was a great day in the garden.


  1. Phillip said,

    March 28, 2010 at 7:19 am

    I was planning on cutting back my holly fern today. Yesterday was beautiful here too and I think today is going to be nice. We had rain overnight but I believe it may all be gone now.

    • Jan said,

      March 28, 2010 at 8:44 am

      We could have used some rain here to wash away the pollen, but the front passed through dry. I still have some more holly ferns to trim back and am hoping to get to it today. When I finished last evening, Phillip, I thought of you and how you felt after putting out the mulch. A hot shower really helped my back, and I think tonight will be an Epsom salt night.

  2. Catarina said,

    March 28, 2010 at 8:01 am

    That was a really nice cleanup.Well done.
    Catarina, Sweden

    • Jan said,

      March 28, 2010 at 8:45 am

      Thanks, Catarina. I still have a lot more to accomplish before it gets too hot.

  3. gardeningasylum said,

    March 28, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Doesn’t it feel good just to be outside? It’s still cold here, but I’m headed out anyway – dirty fingers are happy fingers:)

  4. March 28, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    What a good day you had, Jan! I was similarly content when ike your ruellia, some out-of-control Plumbago was killed back -a mess to snip out all the hard stems, but worth the time. \

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  5. garden said,

    March 28, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    very nice garden

  6. March 28, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Hi Jan,
    I enjoyed seeing the work you got done there. I have been getting last year’s dead stems out of my beds over the last week or so. I never have enough time out there to get them all at one time. I’m almost finished, though. I am so excited that our first 70s of the season are expected this week!

    Thanks for faving my blog. I need to go back and see if I’ve faved you or not. I’m out of blog faves, but have some gardener ones left. I know yours is one of the blogs I like to visit, but since there are so many, I don’t make it to all of them as often as I’d like.

    Happy spring!

  7. March 29, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Well done Jan it looks great! I’m out today too fighting with the Bramble.

    Happy Easter / Tyra

  8. Janet said,

    March 29, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Wow filling two 50 gallon cans is a lot of Holly Fern. I do like how it is evergreen. Looks lovely.

  9. catmint said,

    March 30, 2010 at 5:43 am

    Great day’s work – really satisfying, thanks for sharing.

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