As most of you know, we had decided weeks ago to not open Linden Hill Gardens for retail sales this season, so Jerry, Evan, and our crews could focus on the abundance of design and installation work we have lined up for landscape clients this year. We miss seeing our happy customers and garden visitors, though, and are thinking of you even though circumstances are keeping us apart right now. So, we’ll be sharing some highlights of the seasons this year as a way to keep in touch, provide some garden cheer, and pass along some tips you might find useful as you turn to your garden for peace during this difficult time.

Looking back at our bloom records, we’ve found that many plants here are blooming nearly a full month earlier than they did last year. This exquisite little reticulated iris hybrid, known as ‘Katharine Hodgkin’, is always one of our first blooms whatever the weather. We added it to the Cottage Garden a few years ago and it is multiplying nicely there. We highly recommend it if you’re always hunting for early color in your yard.

Snowdrops (Galanthus), which are one of our specialties, are pretty much all past bloom right now. It’s a terrific time to divide them, though! Make this the year to follow through on expanding your plantings, or on creating a snowdrop-lined path.

You can divide snowdrops even when they’re in bloom, but the following several weeks are fine too. Dig up some of your clumps and swish the bulbs in a bucket of water to wash off some of the soil, if you like, to make it easier to see what you’re doing. Separate them down to individual bulbs if you want to cover the most space, or replant in groups of three to five for a little more impact sooner.

Hellebores are looking heavenly right now, and daffodils are adding to the show. ‘February Gold’ and ‘Tete-a-Tete’ are two of the earliest daffodils in our area. Both are on the short side, with bright yellow blooms that are perfectly in scale with those of Lenten roses (Helleborus x hybridus).

While you’re working around your hellebores, keep an eye out for seedlings coming up around the base of the clumps. Some plants may have few or none; others may have dozens or even hundreds. If there are just a few, consider leaving them, or transplant them to other spots in the next few weeks. If there are many seedlings, consider sharing them with friends, or dig or pull most of them out if they are crowded like these.

Leaving some well-placed seedlings, or spacing them out with thinning or transplanting, is an easy and inexpensive way to thicken up your hellebore plantings for future beauty. You can end up with a nice mix of colors, too.

With the gradually warming weather and generous rain, many more things should be springing up soon in our gardens, and in yours too. Let’s all get out there to enjoy the sense of anticipation and renewal as an antidote to these stressful times! Our thoughts are with you all – keep getting out in the garden as much as possible. It is good for the mind, body and soul!