The snow is gone! And the weather has been warm enough that I’ve been out in the garden the last couple days, actually doing garden chores. It feels like I have been sprung from prison.

Hellebore leaves and buds uncovered

Mostly I’ve been cutting back the old foliage on the Lenten Roses (Helleborus orientalis) and pruning the ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens). It was gratifying to see all the flower buds on the Hellebores once the tattered leaves were gone.

Actually the rabbits got to pruning most of the Hydrangeas before I did, and the same was true of some newer Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia) and Pussy Willow (Salix discolor). Standing on the deep snow enabled the little critters to chew the tender tips of the Hydrangeas. I protected the Chokeberry and Willow with chicken wire, but thanks to the snow the rabbits were able shear off the stems at the height of the barrier (24″).

Let’s see – I also pruned our roses, ‘Cassie’ and ‘Darlow’s Enigma’, and cut back the Clematis ‘Jackmanii’. And I got started on pruning the ‘Donald Wyman’ crabapple.

Snowdrops by the east fence.

The other thing I’ve been doing is scouting for shoots emerging from the newly bare ground. There are lots of Snowdrops blooming now (Galanthus nivalis and G. elwesii). Many Crocus have sent up their narrow leaves, and a few have blooms. There are many shoots of Daffodils, and leaves of some the very early Tulipa kaufmanniana. It is all very gratifying.


My gardening muscles aren’t what they were, so I have to pace myself. Even so, it is a joy to be out in the cool sunshine. Each new leaf and bud gives me hope for a beautiful spring.

37 Comments on “Out in the Garden, At Last”

  1. I’m so glad you are able to feel the joys of spring again, being out in the sunshine and fresh air is so good for the soul. Your garden will be beautiful once more when all your bulbs start flowering. What a pain the rabbits are, I really don’t know what to suggest. Take care and pace yourself.

  2. So good to hear you are out and about. Those gardening muscles will return. As you say, pace yourself. Just reading your list of finished chores makes me feel like a slug. I don’t have any excuse for not doing more. ha… Speaking of slugs I saw some slug slime already. Argh…

  3. Glad you’ve had a chance to enjoy puttering around discovering early spring garden friends. You have accumulated a lot of lovely snowdrops. Sorry the rabbits have taken the early advantage. I’m struggling with how to control them here. Last year was the first time they had been a problem and they were ruthless. A friend advised just don’t plant anything they like to eat (not helpful advice at all.) Rabbit spray proved unworkable last summer…Oops, I’m going on about rabbits. I still haven’t come to terms with them!πŸ‡ πŸ‡ πŸ‡

  4. I can’t help but laugh at the rabbits. The thought of them using the snow as a stepladder’s just funny — although I suppose it would be less so if it were my garden. I saw some comments about your piece in Fine Gardening. It’s not a magazine I knew existed, and I certainly haven’t read it before, but their willingness to live online as well as in print let me have a peek: lovely! And I can’t wait for that clematis to come into bloom again.

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