Please help two novice gardeners keep our backyard as gorgeous as it seems like it's going to be.
My husband and I inherited a beautifully landscaped backyard
when we bought our house, and we've been delighted to watch it start to bloom with the early spring. However, we have no idea what most of the plants are, nor how to care for them - please help!
Any resources you have for the beginner gardener would be much appreciated - we have grown basil in windowsill pots before and that is pretty much the extent of our experience. We are in plant hardiness zone 4b. Particular questions are below.
Can you identify the plants in any of these images
? (I can take more pictures/close-ups - I thought these were okay, but I realize they're not a whole lot to go on. Seriously, we know nothing, so even wild guesses will give us something to start with.) At least one of the tiny plants is supposed to be a bleeding heart. Do you know which one?
We have a pretty serious bunny problem in the neighborhood. I thought for sure that some of the plants would be goners after seeing what they did to the bits poking above the snow, but so far it seems like everything is greening up and will eventually bloom or whatever. Any advice on keeping the bunnies from killing whatever they might kill - or at least keeping the bit of lawn free from bunny poop? (No pets, no plans to get pets, even for bunny prevention purposes)
What are these plants
? Should we pull up the bleached straw-like bits to let the green come through?
Likewise with this thing
- there are several throughout the backyard; this one has by far the most little green cabbage heads. Should we pull out the dead brown things and compost them? One of the other plants has a bunch of dead leaves caught in the dead brown stalks; I think that might be why it has fewer cabbage head thingies - but it also doesn't get quite as much sun so it could be that. Should we, like, rake out the dead leaves? I'm afraid that will kill the green things.
Should we be putting down new mulchy stuff everywhere it currently exists? It seems pretty well covered and even, but we saw a run on mulchy stuff at Home Depot and wondered if everyone else knows something we don't know.
How much time should we expect to put in to keep the backyard looking lovely all year round?
Since we don't want to tear up the landscaping to add a vegetable garden at least until we know what it all looks like in bloom (and in order to keep them elevated and away from bunnies), any advice for growing edibles in pots? We'd like to do strawberries, basil, mint, tomatoes, cucumbers, whatever else is easy and grows well in pots. Halp.
Not pictured, because we do know what they are, but any advice you have for them would be much appreciated: giant purple lilac bush, prolific rhubarb plant, tiger eye.
Thanks for reading this far, and for any help you can give!