The Making Athens Beautiful Blog: Getting It Done This Year

When spring arrives it’s time to start thinking about the year’s landscaping projects. All the stuff you were thinking about getting done last year that never happened – make it happen this year. The project you started on your own last summer but never finished – it’s clear that you just don’t have the time to do it yourself. I can help.

Whether you want an entirely new yard or someone to keep your place weeded and mowed, give me a call and we can discuss how to make your yard look its best.

The Making Athens Beautiful Blog: Shrub Trimming

If you want your shrubs to look dense and to fit into the space allotted for them, regular shearing is a must; once a year is a good rule of thumb.

First of all, the time of year when you trim is important for shrubs with showy flowers. Shearing should be done soon after the major blooming is done. If you wait more than a few weeks after blooming, you run the risk of cutting off the formations for next year’s flowers. It’s a shame to have a shrub planted for its blooms not have any flowers for a season. Though the plant won’t be harmed, a badly timed shearing will deprive you (and the bees) of the flowers you’re looking forward to.

When to trim many evergreens or deciduous shrubs prized more for foliage is not as important – but the tool used for the shearing matters. I never use motorized trimmers. They’re a blunt instrument, and the blades get so hot they can burn as they cut. Old-fashioned hand shears are what I use. They allow more precision and don’t burn the shrub. Plus they’re quiet and don’t pollute, unlike the electric or gas powered tools.

Some shearing jobs demand just a gentle snipping, but sometimes cutting a lot off is called for – if a shrub is blocking a walkway or a door for example. Some shrubs can handle a major cutting; some will be scarred for life or just die. It’s important to know how particular species respond, which is why calling a pro is a good idea before performing major shrub surgery yourself.

The Making Athens Beautiful Blog: Selective Weeding

Here's a way to get free flowers; just let them grow!

A trick that I employ with some of my regular yard maintenance clients (and in my own home garden) is what I call "selective weeding." This means I play favorites with the plants that grow wild in strategic places, like an otherwise empty spot in a shrub bed. For example, next to my patch of blueberry bushes in my home garden, wild violets grow well. They used to be mixed up with random grasses and dandelions, but I've been pulling those for about a year. In that time, the violets have taken over this spot and now I have a patch of lush ground cover with purple flowers in spring.

This takes longer than digging up weeds and buying flowers at a nursery, but this approach has advantages. It's cheap - and since you're selecting wild plants, they're super tough, requiring no watering or special attention other than yanking their competitors from your selected area.

I have selective weeded for other plants as well, including lambsquarters, (an edible also known as wild spinach) wild strawberries, (an excellent groundcover) and wood sorrel (wild salad green with a green apple flavor).

Remember, some plants that come up on their own are worth keeping!