I hesitate to offer gardening advice since I follow how-to and when-to instructions so poorly. There are numerous tasks that must be accomplished to keep a garden humming along, but much of what you read and hear is not based in fact, and often is wrong. Not that it matters much.
The week past I was confined dawn to dusk to a cavernous warehouse constructing a display for a local garden show, and so this morning I wandered about, surveying the damage from winter storms that must still be repaired, but also delighting in the crocuses (above) and snowdrops (below) that have tardily emerged. Along the wooded border of the garden are numerous branches that crashed to the ground under the weight of wet snow several weeks back, but remarkably managed to avoid squashing oakleaf hydrangeas, aucubas, and mahonias that are scattered about at the forest’s edge.
The pile of limbs will be enormous once I summon the energy to begin gathering them, and some must be sawn to be moved. I suppose that I will cut them to lengths to fit the firepit that is used too infrequently. There is no hurry, there will be warm days in March when the cleanup will be more pleasant. Beyond tree limbs, there is the usual debris that must be picked up and pruned at the start of every spring season, and despite the nagging reminders of organized gardeners there is no benefit to rushing about.
I set a goal to finish the garden’s cleanup by the start of April, though I often find that I will stray a few weeks into the month, and if I am particularly lazy there might be a chore or two that remains into early May, though rarely are they delayed for more than another week or two.
The overwintered foliage on the hellebores is rattier (if there is such a word) than usual, and I cannot recall if I cut it back a year ago, so this will be one of the first chores undertaken. The new leaves come up with the blooms (above), and the plant has a much neater appearance if the old foliage is cut back. I can hear you thinking that I should not be too concerned with the neatness of the hellebores in the midst of the rubble, but one has to begin somewhere, so why not with the hellebores?
Through the late autumn and into the winter I have gone on far too long (I am sure) about ‘Winter Sun’ mahonia (above), with cheerful yellow blooms that have persisted by some odd circumstance through January and February. Two plants along the shady southern border narrowly escaped catastrophe as maple limbs as thick as my leg dropped within inches. As I stumbled over the debris I noticed new blooms, and since the start of March is tomorrow I will brazenly predict that the mahonias will flower into their fifth month.
Though the rain was slight overnight the lawn through the rear garden was quite muddy, and as I squished about I noted the breeze picking up and dark clouds approaching rapidly from the northwest. As I neared the back of the property a brown cloud swept past, not from the oncoming storm, but a wave of pollen from the tall Japanese cedars. The three ‘Yoshino’ cryptomerias (above) suffered a few broken branches in the recent snow, but the two yellow tipped ‘Sekkan Sugi’ were damaged significantly, with tops broken and hanging awkwardly.
I walked briskly to avoid being covered in pollen, and to escape the rapidly approaching storm, which by this time announced itself with rumbles of thunder. I noted the scent of ‘Arnold’s Promise’ witch hazel (above) as I scurried past, and I made my way back to the house with a few moments to spare before the rains began. No work has been accomplished today, but I have noted a few tasks that will take precedence to be done in the next week, or perhaps in the few weeks following.