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March 10, 2010 - Janet DelTurco

This is a red letter day, or more appropriately a green-letter one. I worked outside for a couple of hours this morning. It was rather a surreal experience pushing aside piles of snow to get to all the area I wanted to work on, but after filling two bins with climbing rose trimmings, a clump of ornamental grass stalks and assorted sticks, redbud pods, ivy trails and leaves, it looks better beside the back door. Of course it is also a reminder of all that there is to do. But if the weather cooperates I will work on it a bit at a time. My sister is coming over from England for a couple of weeks in early May, so I need to have things tidied up if not planted by then.

  I do have a number of clumps of ornamental grasses, and I love them except for those days I have to cut back the tops ready for the new growth. They are good all four seasons of the year, green and attractive in spring and summer, sporting beautiful plumes in the fall, and wearing crowns of snow in the winter. The only two drawbacks are the cutting back, and their late start in spring, showing all the raggedy remains before the green shoots finally appear.

I had terrific piles of snow in the back yard this late winter, and it will probably be around for a while yet. Right after the biggest snowfall I went out to feed the birds around the side of the house. I was wearing slippers, bare feet would have been even better, with about three foot drifts boots were no good at all. With my weight, I kept sinking in, and on one step ended up with my foot in the hole where the water pot goes. As I struggled to pull that leg up level with its partner, my slipper decided to stay behing, and there it rested until today when I dug out the snow.

As I worked this morning I was surprised to discover how many plants are up already. In the front I can see the beginning of crocuses, daffodils and tulips, and in the back sedum is up and the ivy looking green again. It is extraordinary how the thyme and mosses in the fairy garden area have survived their burial under snow and ice and are looking green and happy to see some sun again. In a few weeks I will be able to clear my desk of all the miniature plants that have spent the winter there. The rosemary pots are soaking up some daylight and fresh air today, and I hope they survive a few more weeks until they can move back into the herb bed again.

  If the weather keeps over 45 or so I plan to be out every day, and will promise to stop whining about the snow, cold temperatures and wind. (I will soon be able to whine about heat and wind instead!)


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