Ask a Question forum: Cleaning up my flower beds

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Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
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gardenglassgems
Mar 9, 2015 11:24 AM CST
Now that the weather is warming up here in Iowa and the snow is melting, I was wondering if it is okay to start cleaning up the old dead flowers from last year? It seems that sometimes I leave to go too long, and I disturb the new growth. I realize that it is still early, and I might be jumping the gun. But I am anxious to get started on all that has to get done before it is time to start putting plants and seeds into the ground. Thanks for any and all input on this subject.
Yard decor, repurposing, and flowers,
Name: Alex Junge
MN st paul, (Zone 4a)
Plantsmylove
Mar 9, 2015 11:29 AM CST
It depends on of you have natives or not.. if you do have natives it may be best to wait until late as possible so you don't disturb bird food/seed heads/butterfly pupas ect. if what you have is nonnative then yes by all means go for it.
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Seller of Garden Stuff I sent a postcard to Randy! Sempervivums Sedums Region: Wisconsin Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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goldfinch4
Mar 9, 2015 11:33 AM CST
Hi Jeanne, personally I'd wait a bit. It's still early enough in the year to get more snow. I hope not, but it happens. Also you don't want to be walking on or working in saturated soil.
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Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
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gardenglassgems
Mar 9, 2015 4:18 PM CST
Plantsmylove said: It depends on of you have natives or not.. if you do have natives it may be best to wait until late as possible so you don't disturb bird food/seed heads/butterfly pupas ect. if what you have is nonnative then yes by all means go for it.

I am not really sure if what I have is native or not. I know there are Purple Coneflower, Black Eyed Susan, Coreopsis, Phlox, and Columbine, Delphenium, Catmint, Lupine, Balloon flower, Blanket Flower, and others. I know that the ground is still very saturated and will wait until it is not so messy to go out and do what I want to do. Thanks so much for your input.


Yard decor, repurposing, and flowers,
Name: Alex Junge
MN st paul, (Zone 4a)
Plantsmylove
Mar 9, 2015 4:37 PM CST
did you recently aquire the propery?


If so I'd wait and see. its still very early spring.
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Mar 9, 2015 4:39 PM CST
If you have any Bearded Irises, you want to clean them out as soon as possible to allow the rhizomes to dry as much as possible. This helps to avoid rot. You also want to remove any dead leaves and discard them into the garbage, don't compost them as they may contain eggs from the iris borer. Smiling
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Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
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gardenglassgems
Mar 9, 2015 5:41 PM CST
We built our home in 2001 in a family farm field. So these are some flowers that I have planted myself. Tom, I have already taken care of my Iris's and day lilies. The Iris's were dropping their seeds which, through experience, I did not want to happen so I picked up hundreds of seeds so they would not sprout and grow more plants.......
Yard decor, repurposing, and flowers,
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
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jvdubb
Mar 10, 2015 10:05 AM CST
Jeanne, I would wait a bit more to be on the safe side.
Name: Greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Mar 10, 2015 10:26 AM CST
I would invite everyone who answers this thread to come to your home for a 'Garden Cleaning Party' in a few weeks. Hurray!
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Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
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gardenglassgems
Mar 10, 2015 4:30 PM CST
I agree and Thank You! , Greene for the suggestion. I am afraid that I am in the middle of nowhere. Actually, we call this God's Country. I love the idea but if everyone came and helped, I wouldn't have anything to do later on and would probably go crazy making more flower beds and less lawn. Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Or I would drive my DH crazy with all the junk I would be dragging home from yard sales and 2nd hand stores to put in our yard. I can get carried away easily......I am pretty sure I can get my outdoor things done, a little at a time, one day at a time. I have all Spring and Summer. The snow is almost all gone in my yard. Sure glad we didn't get much snow this year. Just hope there isn't more yet to come. It got really nice today, close to 60 degrees.
Yard decor, repurposing, and flowers,
Name: Chris
Ripon, Wisconsin
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Forum moderator Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Database Moderator
Seller of Garden Stuff I sent a postcard to Randy! Sempervivums Sedums Region: Wisconsin Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
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goldfinch4
Mar 11, 2015 4:31 AM CST
Jeanne, our weather and temps sound very similar. I can't wait to get out in the gardens again!
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Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
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gardenglassgems
Mar 11, 2015 6:00 AM CST
Yes, we are really close to each other, only about 3 1/2 hours away. But sometimes that even seems like a long ways. By the weekend, I am thinking that I will be out doing something in my gardens. It sounds like there might be a little rain coming which might be good to help get the frost out of the ground.
Yard decor, repurposing, and flowers,
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Mar 11, 2015 7:32 AM CST
Unless dead stuff is sticking up and being distracting to me, I don't worry about it. Stuff that's sticking up, I trim off and let it fall between plants to become part of the 'mulch,' or put into compost if it's too big. Very few plants look different if they were 'cleaned up' vs. if they weren't, once the growing season gets going.

If you're pressed for time, don't feel like you need to clean up a flower bed. It's one of those busy-work things that supposedly "needs" to be done according to some, and intimidates people in regard to both spending time and feeling they don't know how to do it when they're reading about gardening, that's not really necessary. Most micro-manage garden chores are in that category.
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Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Mar 11, 2015 7:47 AM CST
I have made the mistake of cutting back dead plant material too soon (in the first warm up). Then we got rain when the ground was still not quite thawed or over saturated from thaw. The water went down into hollow stems and rotted the plants.
Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
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gardenglassgems
Mar 11, 2015 8:29 PM CST
Thank you Tiffany and Jennifer. I know that you are both correct but I hate seeing the dead leaves and flowers standing there brown. I know that I should be patient and take care of things inside that still need to be done and let the ground thaw and my flowers wake and start growing. Thanks for your advice. I really appreciate it. Thank You!
Yard decor, repurposing, and flowers,
Name: Jennifer
48036 MI (Zone 6b)
Cottage Gardener Houseplants Spiders! Heucheras Frogs and Toads Dahlias
Hummingbirder Sedums Winter Sowing Peonies Region: Michigan Garden Ideas: Level 2
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jvdubb
Mar 12, 2015 6:50 AM CST
I know! I am so ready to cut back all that black dead stuff! And get it looking all tidy before the weeds show up in full force Hilarious!
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Bulbs Foliage Fan Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents
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purpleinopp
Mar 12, 2015 7:00 AM CST
Your garden is for your enjoyment, so definitely do that which makes it more enjoyable to you, within the parameters of what the plants will tolerate, as related by some of the anecdotes others have generously shared. Somewhere in the range of doing nothing at all, to examining every dead leaf, you'll find the style that works for your enjoyment.
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