I don’t believe it’s possible for the lower half of the garden to be any soupier than it is today. The repeated cycle of freezing and thawing opens air pockets in the soil that are now filled with moisture from recent snow, ice, and rain so that every step in the back lawn leaves a depression several inches deep. The lower garden was very damp for much of last year, but for a short while I must stay out as much as possible to keep from destroying what little lawn remains. It seems impossible that this year could be as wet as last, but today, it’s not looking good.
Recent turns from frigid to mild temperatures, followed by ice (above), snow, and everything possible in between, are not unusual, and are hardly a bother except that the gardener was teased with spring-like temperatures a week ago. And then the weather turned. For the worse, if that’s possible. Not so cold, but more miserable. For two days, I didn’t step outside for a moment.
Better days are on the way, and with any luck the mildest days will not be accompanied by rain showers so a bit of work can be done to lessen the March workload. The most immediate task is to cut browned leaves off hellebores. Fortunately, I can get away without cutting every hellebore. Some fared better through the freeze than others, and if the leaves aren’t too bad off, and if the flowers are ones that stand taller there will be no need to cut anything. I figure it’s about half of the fifty or more hellebores that must be chopped, and soon, since buds are swelling quickly.
I despise garden to-do lists and never pay them a moment’s notice unless the chore is something that I absolutely know needs to be done, which are hardly any. So, if you have hellebores with browned leaves, and the flower buds are nestled under the leaves so you can’t see them, cut them off. If the leaves aren’t bad, and the flowers stand up, don’t worry about it until later, and possibly new growth will cover the old leaves and you won’t have to do this until next year. Things I can put off until next year, that’s my kind of to-do list.