bleeding heard with early pink blooms
Curing the Gardening Phobia

Turn Tasks into Quality Family Time

Do you have bulbs pushing up in your yard? It’s a great sign of hope, isn’t it?…peonies and bleeding heart are also making their comeback. Yet, are they crowded by leaves and debris blown in by winter storms or other unseasonable weather?

Many of us here in North America are just now digging out of a late April snow. The Southeast has been hunkering down under thunderstorms. Californians are moving slowly as they recover from nature’s trials. Even Arizona has had some surprising rainstorms this past year, blowing in from the Pacific.

Weekend Mindfulness, Kids Included

flower bed with brick edging, piles of pine cones in the yard, piles of pine needles in the yard

If you see leaves, grass, twigs, or any other debris pushing up against the new stems in your garden, your first Spring task is to rake out all that debris. This protects the new plants so they can provide you with gorgeous blooms.

OMG! More work to do?? Hmmm…well, yes…  But there is a way to make sure this task feeds your need this weekend for deep relaxation and quality time with the family…yeah…that’s what I said…quality time with the family.

Would you want that, if all you had to do is commit 1 hour to it?

What’s the Catch?

For many years I wondered why it isn’t OK to just let everything decompose in place, in the beds…because I really didn’t have time to get into composting. And—composting aside—why is it necessary to keep putting things in bags?

Besides, the kids are running around creating havoc in the yard…teasing the dog and cat…arguing over toys…scared to go down the slide…scared of bugs…hitting each other with sticks…throwing rocks…running and trampling the flowers…whining about their shoes, the sun, breakfast, lunch, dinner—you name it.

How can we turn this disaster into quality family time guaranteed to bloom in 1 hour?

The Burning Question

I was good in the fall and raked…I even planted a few bulbs…is it really necessary to rake in the spring too?

These were my questions for many years, too. It was easy to turn my back on the wet spring beds…until one year I walked out in late spring and looked closely. At first, I just lazily pulled away the wet leaves—and then saw it.

Cranesbill geranium with previous year's growth brown and dead all around it

Horrified, I saw the decomposing stems of my prettiest flowers. The dead and decomposing leaves had crept over to the perfectly healthy flowers and started to rot them! All my fall planting work was racing down the drain.

I never again let the winter litter ruin my spring hope. I rake in the spring.

The Solution

Ok. So how will you turn this task into quality family time?

Metal rake with tines spread in a thin width

You need 2 items: 1. A narrow rake to get into the small spaces in the flower beds; 2. small-sized rakes for the kiddoes. I swear no one is paying me to show you this rake, but this picture shows the kind you need for yourself. I don’t even remember the brand.

For the kids, you can go anywhere to get some pint-sized rakes.

The Method

Now, my other recommendation covers the method you will use. Don’t let the kids rake the beds. You will rake the beds—kicking the debris out into the lawn. Then the kids’ job is to rake it all into piles. They’ll love it.

You can get a bed along one side of your house cleaned up in 1 hour. Have fun! And happy spring!

Post before and after pictures here!

3 thoughts on “Turn Tasks into Quality Family Time”

  1. It’s the first year I’ve had time to rake in the early spring and it is so rewarding. Love that you turn it into a fun time for the family!

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