1 The big cleanup after the long, harsh winter is underway at the farm. In order for all the new growth to emerge, wet, heavy leaves and twigs left over from last fall were removed.
2 Cleaning up all the natural debris allows new plantings to absorb sunlight. A good thorough raking will also help control any thatch build-up.
3 Look at what's poking through the soil... daffodils! You may remember, I have a very large border of daffodils on one side of the farm's property. New spring growth is always exciting to see.
4 Depending on when they were planted, some daffodils are more developed than others.
5 Daffodils are extremely adaptable bulbs - they'll grow anywhere there is well-drained soil and at least a half-day of sun during the blooming season.
6 Daffodils are relatively safe from pests. The bulbs and foliage are poisonous to many insects and animals, including deer and voles.
7 Daffodils look wonderful in woodland gardens or in large groves. This entire area will soon be covered in beautiful yellow blooms - I can't wait.
8 The witch-hazel is blooming nicely. It grows as small trees or shrubs with clusters of rich yellow to orange-red flowers.
9 Witch-hazel is great for splashes of winter color. They're very hardy and are not prone to a lot of diseases. As you can see, while the temperatures have risen, it's still taking some time for all that snow to melt away.
10 Witch-hazel is a genus of flowering plants in the family Hamamelidaceae. Most species bloom from January to March and display beautiful spidery flowers that let off a slightly spicy fragrance.
11 Most are familiar with witch-hazel as a medicinal plant. Its leaves, bark and twigs are used to make lotions and astringents for treating certain skin inflammations and other irritations.
12 Witch-hazel works well as a natural remedy because it contains tannins, which when applied to the skin, can help decrease swelling and fight bacteria.
13 Once these snowdrops start popping up, it's clear winter has ended and spring has arrived. Snowdrops produce one very small, pendulous bell-shaped white flower which hangs off its stalk like a "drop" before opening.
14 Snowdrops are also known as Galanthus nivalis and are fall planted bulbs. They look beautiful planted in large amounts. There was only one or two peeping out from the soil earlier this week, but now, they're dotting many of the front garden beds.
15 Snowdrops prefer full sunlight to partial shade, and moist hummus-rich well-drained soil. When blooming, you may be able to smell their delicate scent.
16 Elsewhere on the farm, lots of pruning. My Malus 'Gravenstein' apple espalier trees got a good trim this week. When pruning the espalier, it's important to remove damaged or weak branches.
17 Espalier is a centuries-old European technique for training trees - typically fruit trees. Espaliered trees take up less space than conventionally pruned trees.
18 Any front and back or side branches that do not fit the pattern were cut. Branches should always be cut above a leaf node at a 45-degree angle.
19 'Gravenstein' apples are great for making sauces and ciders. The apples are large, with crisp, white juicy flesh - I can't wait until these wonderful trees start bearing fruit.
20 The apple espalier orchard was also pruned. Espaliered trees provide much easier access to the fruit - just look how nicely organized and compact they are.
21 Dead or weak branches, branches that did not fit the pattern, and front and back branches were all removed in order to keep their shape and encourage new growth.
22 Espaliered orchards make very lovely garden focal points in every season.
23 Wilmer pruned the rose of Sharon growing along the pergola. These are upright, deciduous shrubs that produce colorful, cup-shaped flowers.
24 It's best to prune rose of Sharon before the buds begin to form. Pruning them consistently will keep them looking tidy. Remove any branches that block sunlight to inner branches or interrupt proper air circulation.