Over several weeks in spring we gradually clean up the dead plant material that was left for the winter. All tall stems that are still standing are cut back and laid out in the pathways in the wild garden behind the garage. That includes fennel,sunflower, heliopsis,hydrangea,Joe-pye-weed and lily stems that are tall and brittle.
A lot of low lying foliage is left to decompose in place. The intermediate sized is mostly clipped or broken into smaller pieces and put into the compost.
Depending on where the taller grass is growing it may be cut into segments and left on the ground or put in the compost.
Leaves are left to mulch where they are.
Each year the old blackberry canes must be pruned out and the new canes kept in bounds. So there is always a pile of thorny brambles.
One of the red osier dogwood is cut back to the ground and allowed to regrow. The others are left to flower and berry. There are four tall dense shrubs and a couple of smaller ones from cuttings so there will be plenty of berries. Otherwise we do little pruning of the other shrubs.
All woody branches join wood piles or are used as starter for the grill or chimenea.
I do a bit of weeding.
Previous gardeners grew several Rose of Sharon of which we have left a couple as small trees.
This means every spring there are many seedlings to dig out. Some dandelions are allowed to grow in the grass but beheaded elsewhere. Lady'sthumb/smartweed is edited leaving enough to sustain a few beneficials. All wild thistle and bindweed must go.
I have found some interesting plants amid the weeds over the years and tend to allow them to grow until identified.
The perennial vines are few. Virginia creeper and a couple of clematis are easily cut back.
Its pretty close to time for the first mowing of the greenways...