Spring’s arriving in a hurry

With warm temperatures forecast for the first half of March, a rapid (and welcomed) transition from late winter into spring should be expected. There will be more flowers, sooner, and of course some blooms will fade more quickly in the relative heat. On the negative side, I expect weeds to begin germinating, and gardeners are warned that the time to remove overwintered foliage of perennials and grasses is shortened since growth will be pushed a week or two earlier.

Leatherleaf mahonia has been in bloom since early January, though flowers curled through the cold February for protection.

Leatherleaf mahonia has been in bloom since early January, though flowers closed through the cold February for protection.

As usual, through late winter I’ve become fat and lazy (fatter and lazier), and despite being anxious for spring temperatures it can be difficult to kick myself into gear. That won’t cut it this year, so I’ve told my wife that my weekends are booked until the early season clean up is complete. Don’t call, or drop by for a few weeks, and if you do, please excuse that I will ignore you. The same as every year, but a few weeks earlier. I’m not very sociable in the best of times. You might be fooled by my writing into thinking I’m quite a pleasant fellow, but when I’m working, trust me, you’re better off staying away.

The pussywillows are nearing full bloom. Some years this is in late February, but a period of cold delayed the catkins.

The pussywillows are nearing full bloom. Some years this is in late February, but a period of cold delayed the catkins.

In early spring there is so much that must be accomplished in a short period that the question isn’t what to do, but where to start? The easiest answer, for me, is to begin in the front and work to the rear. Then, at least the neighbors see that I’ve accomplished something, and if I wear down and stall out nobody will ever see that the Mountain mints  in the rear garden were not cut back in time (or at all).

Diane witch hazel is flowering heavily on its sunny side. A large katsura shades one side, and here there are no blooms.

Diane witch hazel is flowering heavily on its sunny side. A large katsura shades one side, and here there are no blooms.

I should never consider new planting before the clean up is completed, but as always, I can’t help myself. Already, fading boxwoods in the too shady front have been dug out and discarded, and this area must be planted before too long. So, I must work planting into this weekend or next, and while I’m at it I’ll add a few daphnes, a variegated leaf River birch, and a couple larger conifers that will fill the space where a dead hornbeam will be removed sometime this spring (as soon as I get around to calling the guy). Somehow, everything will be accomplished, though there are likely to be a few details that are skipped. Usually, these are hardly noticed.

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