Spring cleanup

Some years, the first day of spring's too early for this work

Not this year. In this freakishly warm spell, plants are growing to beat the band, leaping up out of the ground and making it difficult to navigate in mixed borders as we finish pruning. If we don't get into the garden now the beds will be so full of squashable emerging foliage that it won't be possible to find footing, let alone be comfortable as we work.

The weather may turn cold again but spring is always full of if's - what's one more? So we'll just get on with what feels and looks good.

We're clipping the old foliage off the lenten roses (Helleborus x orientalis) so the brown edges of last year's leaves (left) don't steal the flowers' thunder.


Arrows note the seedling Helleborus that were sheltering among the old leaves. They're a worry now, in that a sudden drop in temperature may kill them. But then, the new leaves developing and covering them may very well kill them later this summer. It's as if the plants only keep the seedlings around until it's certain it has survived winter. Then it says to its progeny, "Never mind, didn't need you anyway, not yet!"

HelleborWOldLvs3792s.jpg  HellebLvsCutN4035s.jpg