The first small steps have begun to tidy the garden for spring. It is quite a mess, perhaps worse than usual with inordinate areas of mud and the usual piles of leaves. I have attempted, with limited success, to stay clear of well trodden paths, particularly the narrow, swampy area that leads to the lower garden. This is, however, where several witch hazels reside that must be visited frequently in February, so a considerable mess has been made.
Despite wasting too much time fiddling to get the chainsaw going, the dead Japanese maple and dogwood were cut to the ground and into manageable pieces. As expected, the loss of sizable trees is noticeable, but not so much that I’ll be rushed into replacing them. Of course, that’s ridiculous. When trees begin arriving in the garden center I’ll be obsessed with finding replacements, and with good fortune some worthy candidates will be available early on.
Browned foliage of the worst of the hellebores was chopped, miraculously without cutting a single flower bud, for once. No doubt, I will have to double back sometime later since only leaves that were horribly brown were removed, and those that obscure flower buds growing fatter by the day. Today, there are only a few flowers, but another mild day or two will push many others into bloom.
I am overjoyed that snowdrops are filling in nicely, particularly the earliest flowering ones that must be in a more ideal spot since they have doubled or more in quantity. Too few were planted from the start, so now it is encouraging to see this reward despite thriftiness that disappointed for several years.
In the same area, a good spot for small bulbs it seems, several winter aconites (Eranthus) are flowering, with others planted in autumn coming along quickly. There is not adequate space for hundreds here, but the three survivors that had not been negligently weeded out were many too few. A few dozen will be splendid, and if I can avoid pulling these with the spring weeds, perhaps there will be a fine patch of yellow flowers in another year or two.