I went away for a few days and came home to two species of crocuses in full bloom and daffodils--barely visible above ground when I left--in bud, with two showing enough color that I cut them and brought them indoors. The "Tete-a-Tete" dwarf daffs in the neighbor's yard are already in full bloom, and the purple hellbores, which had looked nearly dead a few weeks ago, are at their perky purple best. This seemed a good afternoon to clear away last year's foliage to make room for new growth, so I got a good start.
It's amazing how many leaves had blown in over the winter; I raked up several trash cans full (and had the problem of finding places to put them, but that's another story). Clearing the ground revealed some daffodils that I'd forgotten we had (yes, that's how deep some of the post-autumn leaf piles had gotten) and enough heartening new growth on other things to make up for what looks at this point like the death of our rosemary, at least one red sage, which had heaved up out of the ground under a snowdrift, leaving its poor little roots sadly unprotected, and most of the santolina and orange thyme. We may have lost a front-yard rose as well. The plants that survived the winter, however, seem totally unfazed.
The obedient plant is spreading in a way that promises lots of pink in late summer, and the new growth on the "Fireworks" goldenrod is a lusher green than usual. Several varieties of aster are staking out their territory, and the penstemon is already greening up. Irises and daylilies have sent up fresh foliage, and the Oriental poppy looks to be seeking world domination.
After more than enough winter, it is finally spring in the garden.