Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Blight of a Tidy Garden

Here is my planting of Lamium maculatum doing very well without having the "ugly" autumn leaves raked out from around it in spite of looking like the planting of geranium below each spring.

Here is a geranium planting with the leaves left in place all winter and not removed in the spring "clean-up". Notice how the new growth is doing just fine emerging through the leaves, and think about how it will enjoy that nice mulch of leaves around its roots this summer after the autumn leaves have disappeared beneath the geranium's new growth.

Fastidious tidiness is a habit that can lead to dysfunctional garden cultural practices. The example that drives me particularly crazy is the habit of raking out all the autumn leaves from perennial plantings in the spring. It's almost never necessary, it damages the emerging perennial, it robs the perennial of a valuable mulch, and I never cease to be amazed at how many people insist on doing it!!!!!