I am chuckling to myself as I write this because in my last post I mentioned raking leaves in the fall so I don’t have to do it in the spring. Well, I’m still raking leaves; and Spring seems to have surprised us this year by showing up extremely early!

I was pleased to see and smell my Mahonias in early February as they began their triumphant, winter-dispelling blooming. Their small yellow flowers emit a wonderful fragrance that even attracted my neighbors’ honeybees on several really warm days. You can smell the scent on the breeze; or, if you’re brave enough, you can get up close and personal with the flowers – just watch out for those needle-sharp leaves!

Blooming alongside the Mahonias were the Witch Hazel ‘Jelena’ with her funky orange spider flowers, green-flowered Stinking Hellebores, pink Lenten Roses (another variety of Hellebore), Camellias, Jasmine nudum, and Winter Honeysuckle. Now, you would expect all of these plants to be blooming at this time. What you wouldn’t expect to see blooming are Star Magnolias, Plum trees, Jasmine nudum, Daffodils, and even violets in the yard.

On a recent walk at Radnor Lake State Natural Area, we noticed Spring Beauties, Cress, and Spicebush in full bloom. Cut-leaf Toothwort is on the way. And we saw a few purple violets and one lone yellow violet blooming along the path.

It seems that the ground has become warm enough to support all of these spring bloomers. If you are a vegetable gardener, try planting some sugar snap peas, beets and chard. We might get lucky and have a very early harvest! These plants can take the cold.

As for our other plants (perennials and shrubs), if they begin leafing out and then we have a freeze (something below 32 degrees), I recommend some old cloth sheets for covering plants overnight – particularly if there is no breeze to keep the frost from accumulating. Remove the cloths in the morning as the sun begins to warm things up again. Be at the ready! We may still be in for cold temperatures and some of our plants may need our vigilance to survive!

Enjoy the blossoms!!!