I don’t know about you, but about everything in my garden is flat. Flat, flat, flat. The perennials, some small shrubs and the lawn.
This time of year is always the big reveal — which plants made it through winter and which ones didn’t. But this past winter, which buried plants under snow for months, may delay seasonal signs of life.
There are a few signals, though.
I’m joyous about the common snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis), which are the first bulbs to emerge in spring. I planted these tiny bulbs last fall and have been rewarded with tiny, bell-shaped green and white flowers dangling from stems just a few inches above the soil this spring.
I trimmed off all the brown, dried leaves on the hellebores (Helleborus). I learned this trick last year when I spoke at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show in Seattle. All the hellebores had their winter-damaged leaves snipped off, which made the flowers much showier.
The coral bells (Heuchera) like to wriggle out of the ground in winter, heaved from the soil by freezing and thawing. I just tamp these perennials back into the ground. This is a good time to trim off winter-damage leaves on these beauties, too.
Last week, I corrected a mistake. A couple of years ago, I’d planted yellow-blooming crocus (Crocus) in the lawn. When they bloomed, from a distance they looked like dandelions. I have enough of those already, so adding similar-looking flowers was not a smart move. I transplanted them from the lawn to under the gingko tree (Gingko biloba).
As with many landscapes, the trees planted years ago have grown to cast a lot of shade in what used to be sunny spots in the landscape. Besides the shade, the river birch (Betula nigra) is just too messy over my neighbor’s driveway, so I’m going to have it removed. I think I’ll transplant a serviceberry (Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Cole’s Select) that I’ve had for about 20 years to the area where the river birch was. Where it is now, the serviceberry is leaning away from the honey locust tree (Gleditsia triacanthos inermis) toward the sun.
In the backyard, a weedy mulberry (Morus) shades the vegetable garden, so it is going, too. When it’s gone, the Jim Wilson sweetbay magnolia (Magnolia virginiana ‘Moonglow’) will be so much happier with some morning sun. So will the veggies.
The list is long and the time is short, but it gives this gardener’s soul something to look forward to.