5 Tips for Spring Pruning in a Cottage Flower Garden

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5 Tips for Spring Pruning in a cottage style garden

With warm weather right around the corner, I am excited to share with you my 5 tips for spring pruning in a cottage flower garden. 

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I was so excited last year when we finished our cottage garden flower boxes. I love being in my backyard and seeing all of the gorgeous shades of pinks, blues and purples. If you don’t remember, I shared all of it here in my post Classic Perennials for a Cottage Garden. We have had gorgeous weather here in Michigan, and I spent a lot of time this week in my gardens, so I decided to share my 5 tips for spring pruning in a cottage flower garden! 

Foxglove is cottage garden classic!
Flowers for cottage gardening

1. Remove Any Dead Plants and Foliage

The very first thing I do when I am preparing my gardens is remove any dead plants and foliage that is leftover from the summer before. My boxes this year were very full of both dead plants and foliage that had to be cleaned out. We live in a zone 6 and spring is usually the best time of year to do this, but be sure to look at the zone you live in to see what time period is best for your area. Sometimes fall is better.

Removing old leaves and mulch from a cottage style garden
Loosen Mulch and pull weeds in garden

I like to just put everything to the side of my boxes and use our leaf blower for a quick way to remove it all from the stones. It works so well!

Removing leaves and dead plants

2. Loosen the Mulch and Pull Weeds

Once the loose debris is cleaned off of the top layer of your garden you can then begin to loosen the mulch or soil up and pull your weeds. You can use a garden tool for this, I just put gloves on and use my hands.

Pulling out weeds and loosening mulch in garden

This year, I already had weeds growing in! Sometimes it it hard to tell the difference between the weeds and the plants that are in your garden, so I like to reference photos from last year’s garden to know. Usually weeds don’t have deep roots and will pull out easily. Also, you can usually smell the difference between the flowers you’ve planted and the weeds if you are still confused which is which.

3. Prune Back Perennials

We decided on perennials for my garden boxes next to the shed because they are sturdier and come back year after year, which means we don’t have to spend more money each season. I have annuals in my flower boxes in the front of my house that are absolutely gorgeous, but I spend a lot to fill those boxes each year! You can read more about the flowers I choose for those boxes, here.

Cottage inspired window box inspiration!

Since we decided on perennials for the back gardens, I had to learn the proper way to maintain them which includes pruning. Perennials thrive so much more when they are pruned back each year.

I would’t call myself an expert gardener, but there are so many wonderful resources online that it makes pruning easy! Simply Google the plants that you have and the zone that you live in, and you should find endless information! This article is a perfect example and so very helpful!

Below are a few photos of both my catmint and lavender after pruning!

5 tips for spring pruning in a cottage style garden
Pruning lavender plants in a cottage style garden
Pruning perennials in cottage garden

Here’s what my boxes looked like before…

Pruned back plants in cottage garden

And here is the after once pruned!

cottage garden after pruning

4. Dig Up, Divide and Move Plants Now

Each year there are certain plants that can get enormous and it is so helpful to divide them up. Not only is it good for the space in your garden, but it is also very healthy for the plant. Hostas area great example. They can get humongous! It is very easy to just divide them right down the middle, dig the new divided plant up and move it!

Dividing plants up in cottage garden

I prefer to do this process now rather than when my plants are in full bloom because it is hard to see the center of the plant, and I prefer not to have to dig up and replant in the summer.

5. Apply Fertilizer and Fresh Mulch

After I go through the tips I have listed above, I like to lay down fresh fertilizer and mulch around the growing plants to help with weeds and really give the gardens a finished beautiful look.

I wasn’t able to get to this step for this blog post, but I love using black mulch, and the fertilizer we use seems to be different each year depending on where we shop. I am not as picky about the fertilizer since it is just flowers and not vegetables or fruits we would be eating. Someday I would love to plant a vegetable garden though!

Prepared and pruned cottage style garden

I really hope these 5 tips for spring pruning in a cottage garden have helped you! Like I mentioned, I am not an expert gardener by any means, but I am truly learning as I go and I absolutely love these gardens in my backyard once they are in full bloom!

Tips for a cottage style garden
Our Cottage inspired back patio!

Last year we really tackled so much in our yard space. We refinished our shed, planted these gardens, planted more flowers throughout our yard, finished our backyard patio and so much more! This is a space I absolutely love now and I am so excited to share it with you as the days continue to get warmer!

Do you have any spring pruning or garden cleanup tips? I’d love to know in the comments below!


5 Tips for Spring Pruning in a cottage style garden


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One Comment

  1. Hi Andrea! Another tip which is also a frugal idea is when separating your plants, share them with another friend that happens to be a flower lover/ gardener as well. Trade plants back and forth and each of you will not spend any money and have a larger selection on plantings. I have done this numerous times with friends and whenever you look at the flower garden you think of the friend that gave you the plant. I call it my garden of friends! Cynthia

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