Can it be spring already?

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The view through the windows was so gorgeous, I just had to get out into the garden. Once I got motivated and out the door, though, a chilly winter wind kept blowing right through me.

Still, it was the perfect day to start tidying up. Redwoods make such an incredible mess. Like all evergreens, they drop all year round, instead of having the sense to get it all over with in one season.

I’ve always lusted after those gorgeous little Japanese hand tools for raking and weeding, but I was surprised to discover my new favorite gardening tool in Helen’s toy box. Her kid-sized rake is the perfect width and length for combing all the redwood duff out from under perennials and small shrubs.

It felt good to start a nice hot fire to burn some of the duff, sticks–and in some cases big branches– I was pulling out of my planting beds. Once the leaves were cleared off, I started finding the first signs of new growth on some of the perennials.

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The catmint patch, showing signs of life. Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’. Now is the time to clear away all that dead material, before the new flowers start growing through it!

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Some kind of mystery spirea, I think. I lost the tag, but was thrilled with the bright chartreuse foliage and staying power through the end of the season. The hummingbirds were thrilled with it, too. So I’ll have to identify it at the nursery once it’s back in stock. This plant and the Agrostemma ‘Chantilly Peach’ from Annie’s Annuals were tied for garden MVP last year.

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I just love all forms of Coral Bells, they never stop looking great. Here’s Heuchera ‘Geisha’s Fan’ I think, with black mondo grass and white dianthus.

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Here’s another from one of my pots, with a much larger leaf. Can’t remember the name off the top of my head, this container has been going for about two years now. I had to replace the diascia last year, but the Heuchera will be good for at least another year, and will make babies while looking gorgeous. Heucheras are some of the easiest to split, and there’s nothing I like better than free plants!

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I couldn’t figure out how to capture the delicate nodding Hellebore blooms, until I remembered FaceTime. So this view is actually the worm’s eye view of my garden!

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And there I was, knees in the dirt, when I noticed these first buds forming on my winter daphne. The sweetest, most precious little tiny flowers in clusters, and the most heavenly scent! Unforgettable. These are right along the path, where I’ll be able to smell them every day as I go by.

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Can you believe these little shrub roses are already trying to bloom? I’ll probably cut them and bring them in to try to keep the plant focused on leaves and roots for a few more weeks. But honestly, you have to appreciate the work ethic of a shrub rose. They just keep going and going.

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Now I think it’s time to put some of that raw milk to use for some hot chocolate. I used my entire delivery last week to make a new batch of Camembert, so this week I’m thinking of some other ways to use it…

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