Slow to thaw

With forest along the southern border shielding the winter sun, the garden is slow to thaw. Snow and ice often remain days after the neighborhood has melted.

I have just come inside after slip sliding around the icy garden. Fallen tree limbs were tossed onto piles, fortunately none doing damage to surrounding plantings. How a four inch diameter branch fell through an arbor without damage is mystifying, inexplicably good luck. Every breeze that blows, summer or winter, can potentially drop a limb to wreck this structure, but through several close calls, none have.

Broken branches of tall, flowering mahonias have been sloppily lopped and discarded, though fortunately the damage is to only a fraction of these long established shrubs. With unsure footing and temperatures still in the mid thirties by late morning, this is not the time for neatness, so cuts must be cleaned up some time later. I am concerned that split branches might suffer in the coming months, but most often established shrubs endure the abuses of weather with few problems.

I am anxious for this coating of snow and ice to melt, but with several mild days in the forecast a few recently acquired hellebores and a rohdea should be planted before the next spell of rain, or perhaps another week of a covering of snow and ice.

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