A rare occurrence: Spring break for the college has coincided with a few warmer-than-normal-for-March days. This means I have the time and inclination to wander the garden, clearing away last years detritus, and uncover the beginnings of spring. It's been more than several years since these two things have coincided. I always tell myself that I'll just go cut back the dead stalks of one sprawling aster, and before I know it I've cleaned a whole bed and several enjoyable hours have passed. It's interesting how tasks like this clear my mind --I can't actually think about anything except what I'm doing, and sometimes it's a relief to get away from the things that normally inhabit my head.
Cleaning tasks this morning included pruning my heather. Unfortunately, I planted this heather about 10 years ago, and didn't know it needed fairly sharpish pruning every spring. When I did finally realize, my hips were making gardening difficult, so it still didn't get done. Now that I've done it twice, I realize I've probably lost the interior of the plants. It's a strange plant to have in a northern Illinois garden anyway --it starts blooming in late November, which is not an ideal time to enjoy flowers in the garden. Here it is in the photo below, just pruned. It appears mostly dead. I'll probably give it another year, to see if some of that will recover.
After trimming back the leaves from asters, Siberian iris, and day lilies, I found quite a few green tips poking out. These little yellow crocus are always up very early, and in fact all this growth happened overnight. Yesterday when I looked at them, you could just barely see green tips poking out of the ground. These are also the first to get eaten by the rabbits, of course. It's pure luck I got a photo first! :-)
The clump of snowdrops in the woods that Rob photographed a few days ago has expanded and emerged more fully. I also found several smaller clumps in places I didn't plant them, which is great --a sign they've seeded over the last 10 years.
So after the clearing and photoing, I staggered to the porch on shaky legs and took a selfie. It's windy out today, and I was left a bit windblown :-)
I hope all avid gardeners will get a few warms days this March to enjoy being outside again!