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Garden Bliss & Blunder, Issue #033
March 07, 2024

March Madness

“A little madness in the Spring is wholesome even for a King.”

Emily Dickinson

If you are like me, I am itching to get into the garden.

But wait....

Even though the bunnies have chewed my roses, the grasses are tangled and the the anticipation is making me crazy, so I find myself scribbling mad notes; what I did, what I didn’t do, what I want to do.

My notes keep me from digging through the snow and I know when it is gone, I will still be a bit ‘mad' about wanting things to sprout.

So wait: here are some things you shouldn’t do yet:

DON'T walk on your garden…. moisture softens the soil and compacts it when you tread on it pressing down on tender roots, preventing them from growing.

DON'T prune early flowering trees and shrubs like Forsythia, Serviceberry, or Quince or you will prune off this year's blooms. Only remove broken branches. Prune after blooms have finished

DON'T prune roses - wait until the little bud-eyes begin to swell. See:


DON'T cut down your garden just yet… you might want to cut back some of the stems that are falling on the ground as they will keep the soil cold longer and impede the growth of spring bulbs.

DON'T plant anything yet…. the soil is too cold for roots to grow let alone establish

Some things you CAN do...


The best time to prune most trees is early spring, before budburst, to promote faster healing.. In April, access is more limited once the snow has melted.

My dwarf apple tree, before pruning

And, after pruning.

There are a lot of great videos on line on how to prune fruit trees - too many to mention here, but choose one in your zone - done by someone with an orchard who has lots of experience.


Originally believed to be a wildflower native to Britain, the snowdrop is actually native to Europe and the Middle East. It was brought to Britain by the Romans. It is a small genus of about 20 species of plants in the Amaryllidaceae family. They have been known by other names in early history. However, it was Carl Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist, who named the snowdrop the Galanthus nivalis, “milk flower of the snow,” in 1753. It has been introduced into other areas outside of Europe and the Middle East where it has naturalized.


Our Snowdrops last week, along with a few gifts from the resident bunny.


In spite of our snow and ice still in patches of the garden, many gardeners in warmer spots are seeing some early spring flowers…. Hellebores. Coming in many colours from soft creams and whites to pinks and deep rose.

Although my sketch shows a Hellebore in bloom, today, ours look like this.

Hellebores are perennials in the Eurasian genus (Helleborus) with about 20 species and have herbaceous or evergreen leaves with flowers that emerge from the centre in very early spring. Some call it a "winter rose"or "Christmas rose" or even"Lenten rose”,but they are not that closely related to the rose family. They like well-drained, rich soil in a filtered sun or shady spot.hellebore into well-draining, organic soil in filtered sun or a shady location. Take off the older leaves when they darken or turn brown. They don’t need to be fertilized unless your soil is short of nitrogen… too much will create nice lush foliage but fewer blooms.

Look here for more on how to grow Hellebores.

Gardening KnowHow

Photo: Ron Sheldrick

“If thou of fortune be bereft, 
and in thy store there be but left 
two loaves, sell one, and with the
 dole, buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.”

― John Greenleaf Whittier

It's a Good Time to...


I love my Felco pruners because they come apart for easy cleaning and if a part wears out (takes a long time) Felco has replacement parts at Lee Lee Valley also has small, easy sharpeners.

Lee Valley Tools

See the link below for more on pruning tools on my site.


Compost and Mulch...

WHEN THE SNOW IS GONE: Lay down a nice thick layer of compost and let the spring rains wash the nutrients down into the soil…. keeps little weed seedlings from sprouting too.

MULCH: Call a local tree arborist and order wood chips. You will need to designate a spot and have a tarp ready to cover them… think about the weather, your time, how big a pile there will be and when you will have time to spread the chips. They will dump a huge pile which is wonderful but you will need to do some planning.

Follow the link below for The Garden Professors and see the science behind using wood chips... called: Wonderful wood chips

Garden Professors

Books to Read...

If you haven't read these yet....

1. SECOND NATURE - a Gardeners Education - Michael Pollan 2. THE BOTANY of DESIRE - A Plant’s Eye View of the World - Michael Pollan

....and last but not least: a fun, eye-opening book called: 3. BLESSED ARE THE WEIRD - a Manifesto for Creatives… written by my friend Jacob Nordby

I love all three for different reasons….

- truly, we Weird Creatives are very blessed

Remember when I said...

... to be sure to put out your envelope for Valentines?

Well Lucy remembered and this is what was in it on Valentine's Day... how sweet.

What we want....

“Some of us don’t want to be tough alpha leaders. Some of us just want to write and wander the garden and breathe in the sky and nourish and nurture and quietly create new pathways and live our lives as our art. To know the earth as poetry."

Victoria Erickson

Spring Celebrations...

Daffodils by Steven Leak

And, if you celebrate Easter in some fashion, here is a fun thing to do with kids and grown-ups too....

Lucy likes to take long naps with her bunny friends

...and be sure to sing "Alleluia" as loud as you can.

And, until next time...


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