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   THOUGHTS FROM STEVE KELLEY
OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD


Seems a long time since we've enjoyed greenery out our living room windows.  Actually, it's only been half a year or so.  But with late snows and evening chills, it seems like 5 steps forward and 10 backward at times.  Patient gardeners, of course, have a way of grinning and bearing it.  And we know well enough not to retire the flannel sheets or clean the ashes from the fireplace just yet.

Hereabouts, snowdrops, scilla and winter aconite are proving first welcome touches of color, with Hepatica, Epimedium and Snow Trillium soon to delight us.  Hellebores, which we worried might have been in harms way with the quirky winter weather,  appear unfazed by it all.  They promise delight right around the corner.  The mere sight of dusky Virginia Bluebell foliage reaching for sunlight brings visions of swarms of robin's egg blue blowers.

Still too early to be poking around in the garden, but what fun to amble along garden paths greeting our stalwart friends once again.  Welcome spring.

What garden tasks can we tackle now?  As soil warms, and allows feet in the garden, cutting back last year's Epimedium foliage for starters.  Last year's Hellebore foliage looks pretty ratty as well, so they can get a shearing. Trim back clematis as needed.  If deer are a problem (if??) it's past time to get out your deterrent of choice and generously treat emerging foliage. Get to it early to discourage the pests from revisiting your yard.

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