…winter isn’t really blown away; it is washed away. It flows down all the kills, goes swirling down the valleys and spills out to sea. Like so many of this earth’s elements, winter itself is soluble in water.
It started raining again yesterday, but before that we had a week of lovely, bright weather. The temperature got up to nearly 14 degrees Celsius (about 57 degrees Fahrenheit). It was the perfect opportunity to get out into the garden and begin cleaning things up. I cut back the lavender and the ornamental grasses, removed the dead leaves from irises and collected the seeds from Verbascum stalks.
The clematis vines that I neglected to prune last year were a twisted mass of dry stems and leaves. I had to proceed with extreme caution, seeking out the new growth and tracing the stem backwards to the roots before making my cuts above the new growth. I made a few mistakes, such as the Veronica’s Choice, a Group 2 clematis that should have been lightly pruned. I got mixed up about which was the bottom end of a long, twisty strand and which was the top, but what’s the worst that can happen? Perhaps I will have fewer flowers come summer, but it feels good to have the job done. What a pleasure it will be to watch the new stems, leaves and flower buds forming, unimpeded by a framework of dry old growth.
It’s an exciting time of year. There are new buds on shrubs and vines every day and the green shoots of bulbs push up through the mulch of brown leaves. There is joy in the discovery of returning perennials (the Oriental poppies! the day lilies! the hellebores!), and no sorrow yet over winter’s losses because it’s really too soon to tell.
For all my distaste for winter (the mud! the cold! the grey!), I love the change of seasons. Just now, it’s not spring, but we’re on the threshold.