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Spring has finally arrived

Tulips are pushing up in the garden as soon as the ice and snow have melted away. John Zvirovski / The Sun

This week it finally happened, spring decided to show its face. And how quickly things can change from snow to grass!! I love these transitions! Even though we had to wait six full months for this season to arrive, it is emerging with a vengeance! As soon as areas of snow melt, spring bulbs begin to poke through as if they were just as impatient as we have been. Before we know it the grass will begin to green up and we will soon hear the sounds of lawnmowers starting their engines for the first cut.

This coming week will give us plenty of opportunity to get into the yard and do the things we have longed for lately. Just to get outside into the fresh air without feeling we have to bundle up is a true blessing. Walk around and pick up the garbage that has blown in and grab the sticks and branches that have fallen from the trees. Take an exploratory look around the gardens and see what new treasures are beginning to emerge. I am already doing this on a daily basis, as things will change rapidly now that warmer air has moved in.

Of course we cannot plant anything outside yet as the ground is still solid with frost to prevent us from digging, but we can remove some of the leaves from the beds and start cutting off the dead remnants of the perennials that we left behind. Pulling some of the old annuals might be a bit premature right now as they are still frozen in, but that will soon change.

If there are shrubs in the yard that need some cutting back, this is the right time to do this project as they are still dormant. Whether you are cutting them to the ground, reshaping them, or just doing a 50 percent removal to create a more vigorous shrub, make sure your tools are sharp and ready to get this done. This is often the best way to make an older shrub look full and alive again. Just avoid shrubs that bloom in the spring as you will remove all the flower buds, so wait on these until after they bloom.

Roses of all types take pruning well during spring. Hybrid tea roses usually get cut back by 66 percent to promote strong and vigorous growth. Shrub roses do very well with a 50 percent cutback to promote density and more branches in which to set new flowers. Climbing roses can be a little trickier as they can have very long and spiny stems. Just make sure you have protective gear when going in to thin out old and dying canes as this can present quite the challenge.

Trees can also now be trimmed. Get rid of those low branches that get in the way of mowing. Cut out dead or damaged limbs to prevent rot or disease from accessing your tree. Look for any trunk or bark damage that may have occurred due to rodents during winter, make sure the wounds are clean and cut out any jagged edges to promote a healthy healing scar.

Within the next seven to 10 days the frost will leave the ground and numerous perennials will begin to emerge from their slumber. At that point, these can be dug for dividing or just moving depending on what plan has been decided.

Take the time now to walk around and see what needs to be done. Make your list and schedule the times appropriately to make sure the next six weeks go smoothly and don’t feel rushed.

If you are going to plant a vegetable garden this year or repeat the process from past years, plan out what is going to go into the garden and decide what kind of space you will have available. Getting tomato cages ready and your spades and tillers in working order is very important at this time. Also, if you want to amend the soils, use the leaves being removed from other beds to till in once the ground has thawed.

If you want to plant a garden, but don’t have the space, the Jamestown Community Gardens will be holding their annual registration for garden plots on Sunday, April 22. This will be at Temple Baptist Church in the northeast part of down between 1 and 3 p.m.The plots are 12 x 12 feet and rent for $30 with a $30 refundable security deposit. Each additional plot will be $15 with no additional deposit. This is the perfect opportunity to grow some fresh produce or get a family member interested in gardening.

Yes, spring is finally here, and soon the trees will be budding out and the grass will be green again. The birds are already singing their songs in the early morning hours and feeding away from our feeders during the day. Leave these feeders up through the middle of May to allow the birds free access to food until they can dig in the earth again and tend to the open waters. Enjoy the season as it will be full of exciting changes!