Today is cool, almost raw, windy and cloudy. Spring is coming slowly to New England but this is normal and intermittent cool days keep spring from speeding by. Now is a good time to get out and see what is going on in the garden. Plants emerge slowly in woodland gardens, the soil is cooler, there is still some shade from the tree trunks and dead leaves still cover most of our garden beds. That doesn’t mean there is nothing to see. The snow trillium (Trillium nivale) has already faded and the bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) has been up and blooming for a couple of weeks – it will be gone soon. There are many plants beginning to poke out of the soil. It is a great time to recognize different stages in a plants growth to flowering (see the picture of the emerging blue cohosh). Oconee bells (Shortia galacifolia) is just starting to bloom and will be able to be seen over the next couple of weeks. Although this week’s bloom list is short, there are plenty of spring wildflowers getting ready to bloom once temperatures warm up again.
Early spring is also a good time to start uncovering plants as they emerge by removing some of the leaf litter and mulching the gardens as you go. I like to mulch plants right away at this time of year because an unexpected hard frost can damage new growth. I also find it is a great time to begin removing weeds and unwanted plants. Weeds are not well established and their roots are easily dislodged from the soil. Plants that have grown beyond where you want them can be dug and potted for trading or plant sales. Come back and review this blog to find out what changes are happening in the gardens at Norcross Wildlife Sanctuary.