Fortunately, much of the clean up that is necessary to prepare the garden for spring was accomplished in February. Mild temperatures encouraged the gardener to be outdoors, and while abundant flowers of hellebores (below) and witch hazels distracted from the task at hand, a bit of labor was managed so that the garden was not its typical disaster at the start of March.
Certainly, there is still work to be done, and after recent chilly weeks when little was accomplished, winter weeds have covered open ground in the side garden where leaves have blown off to expose bare ground. Someday, this will be shaded by shrubs, and covered by Ostrich ferns and perennials that have not quite grown in after a grove of bamboo was removed several years ago. Hopefully, that will be this year, but I thought perhaps it would be last year, and here I am, pulling weeds in flower before they go to seed.
Admittedly, a poor job was done removing piles of leaves in large areas beneath trees along the wooded southern border. Leaves covering hellbores were removed weeks ago, but somehow piles that accumulated around shrubs were ignored. This is quick work, but it must be fit in between filling one pond that was cleaned of muck two weeks ago, but was not refilled, and fixing an electrical issue that runs the pump on the koi pond. Be warned, if this should not occur to you, that it is unwise to burn garden debris directly over top of electric wires that are buried only a few inches deep.
As always, my attention while working in the garden is distracted by one thing after another, so a simple walk to the compost pile with an armload of branches involves several stops, to pull a weed, to pick up plastic that has blown in from the neighbors, or more likely, to watch bees gathering nectar from the fading flowers of leatherleaf mahonia (Mahonia bealei, above). I’m not getting paid for this, so who cares if two hours of labor is stretched to four?