Last night, I woke up and was thinking about what I was going to write about in this week’s email. It’s been quite a week since you last heard from me. I spent two full days at UMASS at the Ecological Landscape Alliance conference and learned SO much. I spent Saturday at the CT NOFA conference at Wesleyan. Again, a deep dive into the subjects I crave. All that will be shared with you over the coming growing season. The weather on Sunday and Monday, my days off, was sunny and warm and absolutely enchanting. I couldn’t stay inside. I pruned, I cut stuff back, I laid on my belly and took tons of photos, I organized my garden journal, AND my very first seeds from my Winter Sowing project appeared. I took all the greens out of my pots to get them ready for pansies and cool season annuals and spring perennials.
This is my porch pot. I will be cutting off the old leaves and then this gorgeous Hellebore will be moved to one of my shade beds. 

Last spring, I planted a big pot with a small hellebore, a creamy yellow primrose, and I studded it with pussywillow branches cut from the tree in my backyard. In December I studded this pot with winterberry and evergreen branches. Imagine my delight when I removed the branches to find the hellebore not only alive, but in bud and bloom. The primrose has doubled in size, and the pussywillow branches have rooted. All of these plants will be moved to my garden beds this spring and new perennials will be added. This is how I build my permanent collection. When we reopen on Thursday next week, consider doing the same thing in your porch pots. Pick out a nice selection of spring plants and get growing!

Click Here to watch Diane demonstrate cutting off the old leaves on her Hellebores this week. An easy task you do once a season!
Hellebore blossom
Hellebores will be available when we open next Thursday, March 19th
Bulbs are popping up all over my yard. Every day there are new surprises. Do you have enough spring blooming bulbs? If not, turn to the September page of your calendar and write the following words:
 and then, do it. It is so easy to forget how happy early bulbs make you when you are feeling the stirrings of spring fever. Especially this year with such a mild winter. 
Another reason to plant lots and lots of early spring bulbs is that the pollinators are out and they are hungry! Note that I leave my leaves 
and the bulbs come right up thru them.

Every year, when Natureworks opens on the first day of spring, our front garden is filled with masses of blue Iris reticulata. Well, guess what, they are blooming a week early. What a site to see! 

The gardens at Natureworks are FILLED with spring blooming bulbs. Winter aconites, Iris reticulata, & snowdrops. 
Plan on visiting when we open next week!
Our Natureworks classes start this Saturday. I hope you registered early, as this Saturday’s all-day workshop is FILLED! Never have we seen so much enthusiasm for an all-day workshop. The theme of reducing your lawn and replacing it with habitat friendly plantings resonated in every workshop I attended last week. We are very excited to be focusing on this concept in 2020. 
We all are aware that the world around us is a bit stressful right now. The best thing that you can do is GO OUTSIDE! Use every spare minute and every nice day to do whatever you can do to wake up your garden. Prune your summer blooming shrubs. Cut back your ornamental grasses. Cut back your perennials, but leave 15″ of stems up for the tunnel nesting bees. Get your hoses out and hook them up. Organize your seeds. Clean your tool shed. Pick up the branches all over the yard. I am sure you can think of something. If not, just SIT. I promise you that time spent in nature will soothe you, calm you down, and make you glad to be alive. Turn off the news. Stop checking social media sites constantly. Tune in, instead, to the gifts that our gardens offer us. We need them right now. 
I drove thru Durham this week and saw the Cornus mas trees 
(Cornelian cherry) starting to bloom! Wow! Spring is moving in fast forward this year. Don’t miss a minute of it.
The first day of spring is a mere week away. That means Natureworks is opening VERY SOON! As I write this, my staff is unloading trucks and scurrying from shop to greenhouse to shed to nursery yard to get ready. Two of my gardening crews have already started waking up their client’s gardens.
It’s time to celebrate… spring arrives on Thursday, March 19th and Natureworks will reopen to celebrate our 37th year in business. I am sure I will see you very soon…