Today was a great day to get some yard cleanup done in Southern Connecticut. I usually try to get most of it done in mid-March but it’s been a cold and rainy Spring as most of you know. I started by cutting down the dead tall grasses of Pampas grass. I notice that some landscapers and homeowners cut the plumes down in the late fall. I leave them till early spring. I love when the snow and ice fall and give them a graceful beauty all winter. It looks like art in the yard! Below is a picture of Pampas covered in fresh snow.
The plumes pretty much stay tall reaching a height of 6 to 8 feet. They are deer and drought resistant and make for a beautiful graceful showing summer through early spring. I started with one plant but now have about 4 as background plants as well as an eye catching assortment of Pampas and Zebra grass in a central garden. They look beautiful and graceful as they move in the breeze.
As I was cleaning out the ornamental gardens and grasses I found 3 Woolly Bear caterpillars (also known as Garden Tiger Moth caterpillar) rolled up and hidden in the leaves. (See picture) This is the main problem with spring cleanup. So many beneficial insects hide in garden debris overwintering till spring. Some people say to leave it and wait until it gets warmer and they leave their hiding spots. I do clean up earlier but try to put leaves in an area in my woods to help compost and also allow any insects to escape.
I went back to trimming the Pachysandra plants around the Belgium Blocks lining the fieldstone walkway and patio. Pachysandra is a wonderful evergreen perennial that quickly spreads and forms a bright, healthy, dense ground cover. It is low maintenance and shade loving. It also grows well in filtered light. My dog Louie used to love to nestle down in it for a cool nap on a hot humid day.
Early spring is a good time to clean out gutters and cellar window wells. I glanced down into a cellar well and saw a good sized toad that had taken a fateful leap that landed him or her on the floor of the well. (See picture) I carefully removed him. I’m SO glad I saw him! I brought him back to my woods along with some leaves from the well, sprinkled some water on him and left him be. I returned to rake out all of the cellar wells and trim vines. Our home is a ranch style so it is easy to clean gutters with a ladder, gloves and a trowel. Either place a tarp to catch the wet leaves or rake them up. I think if my house was 2 stories, I would pay someone to have them cleaned. There are also gutter kits to keep debris from collecting in them. I am not a Spring chicken anymore and do things a little bit at a time. I find yard work oddly enjoying and hope you enjoyed reading my experiences today.