Finding Joy Beneath the Snow: The Hides of March

Brown is the color of the garden beneath the snow, which has nearly all melted. Dried oak and maple leaves are everywhere, and served as soil protectors for the winter, but now it's time for them to go.

I've been using my Fiskars shrub rake to gently scrape them back. The other day,  I spied something green beneath the nearly translucent snow.

Green joy: Poppy sees tiny tulip
stubs on March 28.

It was a little bit of tiny Thyme huddled up against a gnome sculpture left to fend for itself when the first snow fell.

It's little things like that that keep us gardeners going, that heat up the need to plant, prune, rake and feed.

Even the spring bulbs close to the house are slowed by the lingering snow cover. I planted tulips in the raised bed on the south side of the house, and they're usually at least a week ahead of those planted in the yard. But when you have a couple of tons of snow on the roof that has to be shoveled off, it has to go somewhere. And it goes in a humongous pile below the roof line and on top of anything planted there.

Hunkered down Hellebores
waiting for a warm day.
We're so thirsty for any color at all in March, especially when it's allowed snow to cover the ground for the lion's share of the month.

Surprisingly, things are just a couple of weeks later than normal. Like 2012 only in reverse, growth has been picked up like Dorothy's house and plopped down on a completely different date on the calendar.

Hellebores are hunkered down like turtle heads afraid to come out of their shells. The tips of hydrangeas are pinned down in the icy remnants of the snow. I couldn't help popping one up and out of its private refrigerator. A mistake. The movement popped the viable flower head right off.

My first snowdrop - March 29.
There will be some lower branch damage, I suspect, on some trees and shrubs. I discovered flowers on the American witch hazel, but only on the half closer to the ground. These flowers won't reach out and grab your attention like a Magnolia or a peony. I call them one of the "Hides of March"-- wonderful surprises hidden from those unaware.

March usually provides us with the first egg hunt, only instead of eggs, we're hunting for color beneath winter's detritus.

It's a good thing for us gardeners we've been made much more aware through this rewarding pastime.
Hamamelis virginiana or American witch hazel

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