Eranthis among ornamental grass foliage
Galanthus poking through fallen leaves

Crocus tommasinianus – love those bright orange stamens; this one that the squirrels supposedly ignore.

Signs of Spring are plentiful. In between bouts of snow, we are seeing more sunny days and warmer temperatures. The earliest bulbs (Eranthis – Winter Aconite, Galanthus – Snowdrops, and Crocus tommasinanus) are in bloom and very cheery. Many of my hellebores are budded and a few more sunny days will ensure their opening. Although the new foliage of hellebores will eventually cover the dessicated foliage, I usually prune those leaves to the base if I have time. It makes for a prettier picture.

Scilla siberica and Narcissus blooming between cut back grasses

Yesterday I noticed that the foliage of later blooming bulbs like Narcissus and tulips has emerged. If you planted tulips, now is the time to start spraying the foliage in order to discourage the deer. Last year, I used I Must Garden Deer Repellent and I actually had tulips. What I have learned is the necessity of spraying three times: as soon as the foliage emerges, as soon as you see the bud, and last, when the bud stalk pops up. (If you don’t use up the bottle before winter, do not leave it in the garage. The cold affects the viscosity and the ability to spray.)


The weather was so gorgeous today (sunny and 66) that I couldn’t resist spending an hour in the garden, cutting down Miscanthus sinensis ‘Adagio’ and found that the new growth has already emerged. Now I will be able watch the emergence of the bulbs I have planted between them. Of course, I used my trusty mini-scythe – so much easier than using pruners or scissors. I have them in stock if you need one. Next week it will be time to cut down most of the perennials to their base as well as the other grasses like Pennisetum (Fountain Grass) and Panicum (Switch Grass).The exception will be the perennials that are subshrubs (have woody bases) such as Perovskia (Russian Sage), Caryopteris (Blue Mist), and Buddleia (Butterfly Bush). If you prune these too soon, they will die to the root if we get a hard frost which, of course, we will. It is a rare April in which we do not get any snow.

Drought tolerant annuals Pennisetum ‘Fireworks’, pink petunias, and Helichrysum petiolatum ‘Lime’ filled this container on my front porch last year.

It seems too soon to think about annuals but May will be here before we know it. So start thinking about where you might want containers or which annuals you might want this year. I’ll have some suggestions in the next post.