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Spring provides the ideal time to remove any waste plant material from the winter period. Beds should be cleared and any weeds removed early on before they can become established. Existing plants can be cut back and the beds reorganised. Care must be taken to ensure that the risk of frost has passed for the preparation of soil and the introduction of perennial and annual plants.


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Keeping the soil moist is essential, especially for plants that appear wilted due to the warmer conditions. It is common practice in cottage gardens to relocate plants or to select a fast growing specimen to provide shade over localised areas. This constantly changing system is the way cottage gardens have evolved and over time developed. If properly planned in advance, a cottage garden should provide a constantly changing and dynamic space.


It is common for many annuals to survive through to the next growing season. It is therefore not necessarily advised to remove them. If they do prove to be too tender, it is possible to remove them early into the next planting season, which will free up space. Another example of misjudgement is the removal of perennials that are simply in early dormancy. It is always best to wait until the spring to avoid unnecessary subtractions.


Beds should be cleared of debris due to slow rates of decomposition in the cold winter temperatures. If perennials are not cut back, heavy snow will compress the soil and inhibit essential light and air from reaching the soil. The need for clear beds is made even more essential as left over waste can damage new shoots from taking hold. This is all the more important as a number of perennials can appear as early as late February with warmer spring temperatures.



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