Spring officially starts in one week. However, spring chores are well underway in my garden. My notes from past years indicate we’re ahead of schedule but given the strange weather the whole globe is experiencing, what is ‘normal’ must be redefined. So, I’m just going ahead with the tasks as the current conditions dictate.
Typically, the garden in February and most of March is thickly covered in snow and the ground beneath is frozen solid. Not this year.
The snowdrops started blooming about three weeks early but their bloom time seems to have been extended as the temperatures have remained constant. That’s a nice thing of course. Accordingly, the snowdrops have been divided. I prefer to divide them while they’re still blooming. It gives me a better visual of where and how I’d like to see them spread. In the meadow, I envision these happy harbingers of spring tumbling joyfully down the slope. So, the new divisions have been planted randomly to look free-form but they follow the natural incline along the length of the land.
The hellebores also have an early start and are beginning to look very pretty. The old leaves which are left in place to protect the new growth were cut away last week.
That cut back indicated that general spring clean up was possible. Over the past weekend, plants were cut back, winter detritus picked up, dead limbs of various shrubs removed,The birdhouses were cleaned out thorough;y and within 8 hours, one was occupied by a pair of sparrows!
The fruit espaliers and Concord grapevine were pruned even earlier. Dormant oil spray to smother eggs of pests has also been applied. It’s important to get this done before any new growth appears.
This week, cutting back our side of a neighbor’s hedge, pruning the hydrangea and attending to the tiny wild ‘lawn’ in front are on the agenda. The lawn gets a good raking to remove thatch, then it is aerated, followed by a light reseeding and a healthy feed of compost. I also plan to inspect the name tags on the espalier trees to identify what needs to be rewritten or replaced. Note: As I write this post, it’s been snowing for some hours! Whether the snow sticks around or not will determine if the chores get done!
I have a list of plants I’d like to add to the garden so those need to sourced and ordered. I’m hoping my local nursery can provide.
Gardening season has certainly begun. It’s my mind that needs to come to terms with it.
(c) Shobha Vanchiswar 2023
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