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My Garden in Early March

I recently watched a flock of robins strip the last shriveled berries from the branches of a dogwood tree. Dogwood berries are high in fat, up to about 24% fat. This is important to birds who need fat for energy and to provide insulation against cool temperatures. But new buds are swelling and a few blossoms are already open on the same dogwood tree, signaling that spring is headed toward its peak.

Spring came in quickly during the first days of March. It's hard to believe, but one month ago we had snow on the ground! Yellow daffodils were among the first spring flowers:

 Other flowers are now blooming throughout the garden:

Above, row 1: Magnolia 'Jane'; Phlox divaricata. Row 2: Epimedium; Hepatica. Row 3: Camellia 'Red Candles';Camellia 'Something Beautiful'. Row 4: Pieris; Winter daphne.Low maintenance trees and shrubs provide interest year round. A colorful shrub border in the front garden includes red camellia, yellow forsythia, and orange flowering quince, while redbud trees temper the background with pastel lavender pink:

It is a joy to be outside this time of year. Although the fickle weather has brought some cold temperatures and dreary rains, other days have been gorgeous. I have been busy, working hard to beat the warmer temperatures I know are coming. I have pruned trees and shrubs, raked leaves and spread new mulch, sprayed ecologically safe horticultural oil, fertilized, transplanted a few shrubs and planted many new ones. Yesterday I bought two serviceberry trees, a gift to the birds. I will plant them within a few days, along with an Alabama croton, a rare native shrub I also found yesterday.

An ongoing project is the removal of invasive nandina domestica and mahonia from the woodland garden and replacement of them with native shrubs and other non invasive plants. You can read about my decision to do this in Should I Rip Out My Mahonia and My Decision. Some of the new deciduous hollies and viburnum are still leafless and aren't noticeable yet, but here is a sneak peek at part of the renovated woodland garden: 

I will do a more extensive post on the woodland garden later. Meanwhile, there is still much to do. Happy gardening!

 You may also enjoy My Secrets to a Low Maintenance Garden.

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Reader Comments (18)

Oh...you have some beautiful things going on in your garden!

March 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy/goawayimgardening!

how fabulous to be gardening in earnest...I will be where you are in April...for now I have to wait and see...your rain is our snow...

March 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

Dear Deb, Your garden looks so lovely!! Absolutely nothing is happening here. I did go to a bulb show in the valley and saw some snowdrops but we are still awash in white snow. Still it is a joy to see your wonderful world abloom. Gorgeous shots of flowers and your robins. Happy gardening to you!

March 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

I really like your shrub border, so much more complex and interesting than a perennial garden, especially at this time of year. I love how you've got layers and levels and it all works. (Also enjoyed your lazy garden, I mean low maintenance garden post from last year !)

March 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

It is so fun to see your gardens so far ahead of us and so beautiful. Loved the epimedium, is it 'Orange Queen' or x warleyense?

Inspiring post!
Good to see someone going for it so creatively with shrubs.
We are still hooked on the perennial buzz in the UK.
Shrubs as I learnt early on in my gardening life are the easiest form of gardening!
Great photos by the way!

March 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobert Webber

Deborah, thanks for your visit and nice post! I'm delighted to see spring is bursting out all over in your garden. Here, we're way behind you of course, but today the redwinged blackbird males are back, and that is a huge excitement. Every day now there are new gifts to savour in the garden. And that is the joy of gardening, isn't it?

March 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjodi (bloomingwriter)

You have so much blooming and birds galore. I love your robin shots, waiting for them to arrive here. Your post really screams spring, glad I popped in for the fresh look of spring. You can almost smell the freshness.

March 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

You're ahead of us here (not surprisingly!) Beautiful ! Is the first daff a Lent lily (N. pseudonarcissus)? I love your second daff pic too. Can't you see that blown up and on a wall? Camellia 'Something Beautiful' really is something beautiful!

March 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSweetbay

Nice one, Deb. You've been very busy and it shows. Yours is another garden I look forward to following through spring, especially your woodland garden.

March 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBom

I am so looking forward to this level of spring in my garden! Right now, I only have violas in blooms, but crocus and hellebores are trying hard. Soon, very soon! You were right about my Home Show, the Warwick's display is always the best!

March 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobinL

So much interest from flowers and foliage, beautiful. Good to see the woodland garden coming along too, look forward to reading more.

March 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanet/Plantaliscious

Beautiful photos Debs! Love all those blooms! Daffodils are my favourite flowers, and the scent of winter Daphne wafting in the air is special :)

March 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

Oh my, remind me to steer clear of Dogwood berries! Not that Mr. Robin needs to worry about his waistline! ;) I can't believe how much you have blooming. I do miss having Camellias, and how much color they can bring to a garden in late winter and early spring. They seem to be caviar for the deer here, so I haven't bothered to plant any. Your daffodils look perfect though! That's one plant that everything here seems to ignore (except me of course). I once joked we should turn Curbstone Valley into a daffodil farm. With all the plants that have been attacked by bunnies, deer, gophers, and voles...maybe I shouldn't have been joking! Looking forward to your woodland garden update!

March 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCurbstone Valley Farm

Hi Deb, it really is a joy to be outside this time of year in your area. How beautiful those variations in color and sizes, if i were you i will just walk and walk and wont get tired of appreciation. We are deprived of winter, spring and fall, what we have is a non-stop sameness of things. haha!

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

Your garden is looking fabulous in the spring! I'm glad to see that you have shrubs and trees for year round structure and easy care interest. They're certainly making an impression in the spring.

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGarden Sense

Hello Deborah, It's lovely to see spring emerging in your garden as autumn is just starting to peek around the edges in my part of the world!.Those are delightful shots of the robins in your dogwood!

March 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi

Hi Deb, Your spring garden looks so beautiful. I can't wait for spring to make it up here to Canada.

March 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer
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