When winter starts to release its icy grip, my thoughts turn to outdoor activities and I can hardly wait to get out into the garden again.  While you are waiting for the warmer weather, there are still quite a few things you can do to get your garden ready even if winter might still make a surprise appearance.

One thing you can do is to clean up all the debris, broken branches and leaves that have accumulated in your garden over the winter.  You want to be careful, though if the ground is still very wet as walking around on it can cause the dirt to become compressed.  Take this time to rake up dead matter as well as pull out any weeds left over from last year.

Once the snow is completely gone, you can take a look around your garden for any old annuals that are still in the ground.  These will not come back, so now is the time to dig them up and get rid of them to make room for this year’s flowers.  At the same time, take a good look at your perennials and cut back any stems that you missed in the fall.

Some woody plants like lavender and butterfly bush only bloom on the new branches so they should be cut back in spring.  If you are cutting plants, be sure that any threat of frost is passed as a sudden frost can kill the fresh cut plants.  Be careful about which plants you prune, though as some shrubs actually form their buds in the fall and if you cut them off in the spring you won’t get any flowers at all.

Spring is also a good time to assess your garden and decide which plants you want to divide, which plants you want to move or remove and which new plants you want for the gardening season.  Also, be sure to take note of how much mulch you will need for the garden.  If you have wood chips and haven’t removed them for several seasons, now might be the time to do some scooping and removal to make way for new wood chips.

If you have trellises, ponds, statues or fountains in your garden, now is the time to make sure they are in tip top shape. Water features can become quite dirty, clogged with leaves and typical winter grime. Since the weather is soon to improve, now is the time to consider your options. Water feature upgrades can be purchased from Oase, it is always good to keep the parts up-to-date, just as you would a car – since they eventually get old and outdated.

After-all, the warmer months are taken up with planting and tending to your plants so getting your garden accessories ready now will ensure they look beautiful all summer long.  Take this time to do any repair work or painting.

Taking advantage of the early spring days can help you get your garden in top shape for the warmer months plus it’s a great way for you to get outdoors in the fresh air!