Okay, I know that winter is not over, not by a long shot. That doesn't mean I can't grasp tightly any little sign that it's on the way, though.
Such signs are increasingly evident in the garden. As we work cleaning up the beds, removing the last of the fallen alder leaves, cutting down things that are falling over anyway and pulling about a ton of shotweed (grrr...), we are heartened by the first of the early crocuses, in this case, Crocus chrysantha 'Bluebird,' Iris reticulata 'Harmony,' whose clear, rich blue carries a long way, and an assortment of hellebores in varied shades. Many of the shrubs and trees are in bud (the Indian Plum is blooming) and many perennials are pushing their way out of the ground.
While on my hands and knees working in the Bird Bath Bed, I came across the Giger-esque eruption that will become one of the loveliest and hardest working flowers in the spring garden, Amenone blanda 'Blue Star,' with its lovely clear violet-blue daisy like flowers and ferny-textured leaves. We plant more of them every year.
It is not unlikely that we will have more snow, and will most likely have some nights in the 20s, but each day brings us that much closer to the whole spring show. It's perhaps my favorite season in the garden.