Here’s what I’m doing in my garden right now. Some years I do these things earlier in March, and some years in early April depending on the weather. This year I’m working in fits and starts as the temperatures run from winter to spring and back to winter again.
There are many perennials that I’ve left standing over the winter. This is a Sheffield Pink Dendranthema. See the new, green growth at the very soil line? This plant is growing, despite the cold weather. I’m cutting the old, brown stems of plants like this down to about an inch above the ground so that I don’t injure the new growth.
Here is an Agastache that I cut down yesterday. Now the sun can get to the new growth and not as many oak leaves will get caught in the old stems.
I’m raking areas where leaves and other debris have gotten caught all winter. This Geranium macrorrhizum is one of my favorite ground cover plants. I don’t worry about getting every single leaf out – this area has been raked and is clean enough for my standards. The few leaves still there will rot into the soil with the help of earthworms etc.
I leave my grasses over the winter but at this time of year most of them look pretty sad. This is the month I’m cutting them down.
The Miscanthus get chopped down to about six inches high. Other, finer grasses get cut to the ground. The key is to trim any ornamental grasses down well before the new growth starts. Once the green shoots start to come up they will be damaged if you cut down too far, so get outdoors on the next sunny day and cut those winter-worn grasses off. Note: if possible, place those cut pieces on the sides of your property for the birds to use as nesting materials.