Weekend Garden Notes


Snowdrops are blooming. It’s a relief to finally see the first snowdrops (Galanthus) in bloom. In 2012 they bloomed in February and were done by mid-March. This year they are just getting started.

Snowdrops in bloom.
Snowdrops in bloom.

I really should have kept track of the varieties I planted, but I didn’t so I can’t know which kinds are early and which are later.

There are patches of snowdrops around the old silver maple stump - not yet ready to bloom.
There are patches of snowdrops around the old silver maple stump – not yet ready to bloom.

Right now there are a few clumps in bloom. There are larger clumps that are getting close to blooming. And there are others that are just now poking up out of the ground.

You can see the beginnings of the flowers, but these are not quite ready to bloom.
You can see the beginnings of the flowers here.

Regardless, it is a pleasure to see them, as they are the only blooms to be found at the moment.

Reports of winter’s demise were a little premature. I may have jumped the gun in a recent post when I declared Victory over Snow. There are still patches of snow here in the front garden (north of the house). We even had a dusting of snow over Saturday night. However, based on the current weather report I am confident the snow will be gone by next weekend.

These are the containers planted with tulips that I buried last fall. Some are still covered by a couple of inches of snow.
These are the containers planted with tulips that I buried last fall. Some are still covered by a couple of inches of snow.

The back garden is already snow-free, I’m glad to say.

The back garden, snow free.
The back garden, snow free.

Fun with pruning. Today was on the cold side, but pleasant when the sun wasn’t hiding behind clouds. I took advantage of some free time to get started with spring clean up. I pruned the Clematis jackamanii, the cranberrybush Viburnum (Viburnum trilobum), and the trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens).

Trumpet honeysuckle after pruning. I know some people just cut it to the ground, but I'd hate to do that. Judy's shadow is in the lower right corner.
Trumpet honeysuckle after pruning. I know some people just cut it to the ground, but I’d hate to do that. Judy’s shadow is in the lower right corner.

Oh, and I cut back our various roses. We have shrub roses that are pretty hardy (‘Cassie’, ‘Sallie Holmes’), plus the rambler ‘Darlow’s Enigma’ and the wild prairie rose (Rosa setigera).  I’m not expert at rose pruning, but tough plants like these are pretty forgiving – they remind us that roses are basically descended from brambles.

'Cassie' after pruning.
‘Cassie’ after pruning.

I also got started on the red and black elderberries (Sambucus racemosa and canadensis). Elderberries benefit from cutting back pretty hard, in my experience.

There is something very satisfying about pruning, especially at this time of year. When you are done the plants look clean, streamlined, and ready to jump into spring. Also, it just felt good to get started on getting the garden ready for spring.

A dead rose and missing hellebores. It looks like my new rose, ‘Strike It Rich’, did not survive the winter. This is a sad loss, but I’m not surprised that a rose planted in late summer did not survive this frigid winter. I have never had to cover my roses with mulch in the past, and even this year my established roses didn’t need it. But perhaps it would have saved ‘Strike It Rich’.

Any thoughts on a replacement? I want something fragrant and either yellow or orange.

Also, the rabbits seem to have eaten all the hellebore (Helleborus orientalis) foliage. The hellebores were all planted last fall – my first venture with this plant. Can I expect them to come back? I surely hope so.

How was your weekend? Were you able to get out and work in your garden?


49 Comments on “Weekend Garden Notes”

  1. Glad you are finally seeing some uncovered ground and flowers. Hope it all melts soon. I like pruning at this time of year too. We had some very nice weather here this weekend, partly sunny and temps close to 50 (for here that’s warm). I got lots of new plants into the ground.

  2. Lovely weather in st louis this weekend…in the 70s Saturday and mid 40s today but sunny . Nice weather to rake and do some cutting back. I enjoy this time if year and making way for planting began p preparing two small beds.

  3. There may still be some snowy days but it looks like your on the sunnier side of the equinox after all! Those blooms look great and it is nice to be outside handling something other than a snow shovel.
    I like ‘ livin easy’ rose. Carefree, but I don’t think it’s any hardier than your strike it rich.

  4. Lucky you having all those pretty blooms. Something special about these early flowers. I’ve never had much luck with hellebores. Hope yours are just slow. Although I would think the foliage would at least be up by now.

  5. I can recommend the David Austin Rose called Golden Celebration. It was planted by a previous owner on the east side of our house. We moved it in 2006 when we redid the garden.

    It now gets full sun on the south side. It blooms at least twice if you keep it deadheaded. I give it alfalfa meal in the spring. It does get a little bit of black spot late in the season. It’s a shrub rose that gets about five feet tall and wide.

    We’ve had a few more days this month to get outside (Everett, WA). I moved a small golden smoke tree from a full sun location in the front to a more protected area in the back. The leaves got scorched in the full sun.

    We usually get a truckload of compost to spread in our beds. My husband bought 25 bags this year. It does make it easier though more expensive. I need at least 25 more. My husband is having back problems and I have hip bursitis. We might have to hire a younger person to do the garden cleanup in the future.

  6. Hooray for victory over snow and for snowdrops! Pruning does make everything look better. Because I pretty much ignored my garden last year, including all of the plants that needed to be moved to more appropriate places, I’ve been doing a lot of transplanting and dividing of plants. It feels great to be outside digging in the dirt again! If the bunnies ate the old hellebore foliage, they did you a favor as it should be removed each year to prevent fungal diseases; if they ate new foliage, it may grow back but it may also be time to consider a nice warm rabbit stew. (Big pot, carrots, bugs, and Elmer Fudd with a large spoon.)

  7. Your snowdrops are such a cheerful sight! My alpine garden looked just like yours after a long winter but it’s quite amazing how fast things pick up again and make up for it. It’s raining here so I’m working at my desk and enjoy the garden from there.

  8. Every time we get some cold temperatures I think this has to be the last of it, but then…We are almost into April so we must be hopeful! Nice to see that all your snow is melting pretty quickly. I have been pruning and mulching whenever weather permits and searching for spring blooms.

  9. Oh!!! Isn’t it just fantastic to get back out in the garden! Your groupings of snowdrops are beautiful!! I went around assessing a bit as well and chasing mr. rabbit out of my beds! I did not enjoy seeing snow covering my little sprouts this morning but hope that it is the last of it! Sorry to hear about your losses though I will be interested to hear what you decide to replace them with! Here is to Sunday…60 degrees!!! Nicole

  10. No garden work but the snow continues to recede by 2/3 or 3/4. Snow crocus and snowdrops in one or 2 spots. It will be a slow spring still but it is under way. Too bad about the rose. My rabbits do not eat the hellebores so I was surprised to hear this. Did they eat the new buds or the old foliage? Old foliage is no big deal and if they didn’t eat the new buds too far, I bet they recover.

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