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.
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.
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.