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Avatar for userLele
Jun 8, 2020 11:22 AM CST
Thread OP
Southwestern Ontario
I just bought a home that came with a garden and I dont know how to properly care for it. Flowers started appearing in late April but then the blooms were quickly spent and the garden started to look over grown with weeds and ground ivy. So I decided I would clean it up but when I started to pull weeds and ivy there were bulbs everywhere. So my question is how do I take out old rotted leaves and weeds without ruining the garden?

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Spotted dead nettle but as you can see the blooms are all spent and look really bad.

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Ground ivy against the shed.

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I planted the orange and yellow potted plants about a week ago. There are also some lovely tall bearded iris' as well. They just bloomed two days ago.

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Over grown, how do I clean it?
Avatar for PlantingOaks
Jun 8, 2020 2:00 PM CST
central ohio (Zone 5b)
So, what you are calling 'ground ivy' looks like what I call vinca.

Does that look like a match to you?

It is probably growing there against the shed because that is a dark, dry area which is difficult to grow anything else in. There are some alternatives, but you might want to leave it there for now while you tackle the rest of the garden. Rip it out where it starts getting into other plants.

When you say 'rotted leaves' do you mean dead ones, literally rotting on the ground? Leave those. They are free fertilizer. Or do you mean dried up ones on a plant? Take a pair of shears and snip off the spent blooms if they are unsightly to you.

It shouldn't harm bulbs if they accidentally get uprooted while weeding. Just tuck them back in, pointy side up.

It might help to identify what bulbs you have. One that is a common weed is Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum) They do have flowers, but not very many compared to the amount of leaves. You can keep them or toss them as you please.

You last picture looks like it has grass and Creeping Charlie (Glechoma hederacea) invading the dead nettle. This is annoying. Creeping charlie is hard to get rid of when it starts mixing with other things. You pretty much have to get down on your hands and knees and trace along the stems and pull them out one by one. Repeatedly as they re-grow all summer. Glare

You can pull the grass by hand, or use a selective herbicide like Sethoxydim which will (slowly, over the course of the summer) kill the grass and leave the ground cover.

Watch the nettle and think about how it looks through the year, and whether you want to keep it long-term. I would leave it for now as better than bare dirt, but if you find it messy, you may want to scout out something else for next year.

You have a couple of what look like young trees coming out of the nettle as well. Either dig them out, or snip them off and immediately apply glyphosate (roundup) to the cut end with a paintbrush to keep them from resprouting.

Get some woodchip or bark mulch of your choice and apply to the bare dirt. It will add organic matter, keep the roots cool, and suppress weed seedlings. I forget what official guidelines for mulch depth are, but I usually aim for about 2-3 inches.

Keep things watered, and see what else you have this summer! Big Grin

(n.b. you used the term 'annual garden' in your post title. All the plants pictured with the exception of your marigolds are perennials. Annuals grow from seed and die each winter. Perennials survive year-to-year)
Avatar for userLele
Jun 8, 2020 4:30 PM CST
Thread OP
Southwestern Ontario
Wow! Thank you so so much for the detailed response! I didn't expect that.

Yes it looks like my plant identifier app was wrong because that picture you posted looks very similar. Also thanks for the perennial/ annual clairification.

As for bulb identification the only difference I see is size so hopefully they bloom and I can identify them then lol.

As for the rotted or dead leaves I think they are dead but some of them looked damp and really close to the root
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Good thing I've got lots of time on my hands to get that creeping Charlie out of the nettles.

Thank you so so much this was so helpful.
Avatar for PlantingOaks
Jun 8, 2020 6:08 PM CST
central ohio (Zone 5b)
So, it's hard to tell at this time of year, but that might be a tulip. Still not a problem to leave the leaves, as long as they don't smother the plants beneath them. You can snip them off for aesthetics once they turn brown, or just leave them.

I wasn't sure how much to worry about the bulbs. For one thing, I wasn't sure if you'd moved in early enough to see them bloom, and for another I wasn't sure how plant-savvy you were. You identified the nettle and the iris very exactly, so I didn't want to assume you didn't know what a daffodil was.

If they *are* tulips, they may or may not bloom. While some tulips do well in the garden, many are more finicky and really only do well the first year they are planted, and gradually peter out after that. Also they are apparently delicious to wildlife, and frequently eaten. If in the spring you find that they aren't blooming, go ahead and dig them out and pitch them. They are cheap to replace, and not really worthwhile to rehabilitate unless you live in the netherlands.

Creeping charlie in another groundcover is a royal pain. You have my sympathies. Depending on how much you like what's there, and how much time you have to put into it, it might be easier to just go scorched earth and kill them both, then replant when the weeds are gone. Also, either controlling it in your lawn, or digging a good edging between the lawn and the bed will help keep it from re-invading. There are selective herbicides which make it easier to get rid of in grass than when it is all twined around other broadleaf plants. And this coming from someone who has some nostalgic fondness for the plant.

Bulbs are generally done blooming and dying back by now. I can't think of any fall blooming ones that would be dormant now but are hardy that far north. So, you won't see more from them until next spring. The leaves die back and go dormant and that's exactly what they're supposed to do.
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