1 This is my little woodland cottage. It is surrounded by many small plantings that are just beginning to emerge through the thick layer of leaves that protected them from the cold.
2 Snowdrops are some of the first signs of spring to peep through the brush.
3 There are also pure white crocus with bright yellow centers.
4 My grounds crew foreman, Chhiring, carefully blew the leaves and debris surrounding this outdoor folly, to expose the pretty spring flowering bulbs underneath.
5 Like these little clusters of puschkinia, which do very well in the woodland.
6 It looks so much better when the area is cleaned up. This cottage also has many dogwoods, azaleas, and shade-loving trees planted nearby.
7 Chhiring removed some of the dead growth that was not removed with the blower.
8 My farm crew has been doing a great job of clearing out the woods.
9 They have been removing all of the prickly bramble and barberry, which tends to take over. They will remove any barberry that is within about 20-feet from the edge of the carriage roads.
10 As the crew works in the woodland, they gather twigs and small branches in piles that will later be picked up, and put through the chipper right in the woods.
12 This end of the blueberry patch looks great! Spring raking is also a good time to survey surrounding lawn areas for any matted or bare patches that need re-seeding.
13 The perennial beds outside the flower garden were also raked. Here, there are more glimpses of spring growth - such a welcome sight after months winter gray.
14 Raking and removing all the old growth leftover from last fall encourages new growth, and tidies up the beds.
15 Most of this cutting garden is for flowers; however one end is where the asparagus rows, rhubarb, and horseradish are permanently located.
16 With all this warm weather, it's tempting to start planting, but it is important to still know your hardiness zone - here, we can get frost right into the month of May.
17 The spring-flowering bulbs are off to an early start. These little white crocus have naturalized in a section of lawn.
18 More crocus - crocus usually comes in shades of purple, yellow and white.
19 They only reach about two to four inches tall, but they naturalize easily, meaning they spread and come back year after year.
20 Snowdrops are also known as Galanthus nivalis and are fall planted bulbs. They look beautiful planted in large amounts - they're dotting many of the front garden beds.
21 Most varieties of snowdrops flower in winter, before the vernal equinox - that's March 21st in the Northern Hemisphere.
22 Snowdrops produce one very small, pendulous bell-shaped white flower which hangs off its stalk like a "drop" before opening.
23 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.
24 These delicate flowers are Puschkinia, members of the hyacinth family. Look closely and you'll see the faint sky-blue stripes that adorn each floret.
25 In my Linden tree allee, you can see the croci beginning to emerge on the left. In a couple of weeks, this area will be full of them. This is where we planted thousands and thousands of blue flowering bulbs a few years ago.
26 Crocus is a genus of flowering plants in the iris family made up of about 90-species of perennial plants.
27 These are such a lovely shade of lilac.
28 As are these Eranthis hyemalis, or buttercups.
29 These are 'Natascha' miniature iris - a lovely ice blue in color. They bloom in early spring and grow to about four to six inches tall.
30 Pussy willows, with their distinctive catkins are also early bloomers. Some have very large furry catkins, such as this Giant Pussy Willow.
31 While other pussy willow varieties have smaller catkins, such as these Purple Heirloom pussy willows.
32 Pussy willow is a common name given to many smaller species of the genus, Salix, when their furry, velvety catkins are young.
33 The witch-hazel is blooming nicely in front of my Summer House. They provide a great splash of color to the winter landscape.
34 Witch-hazel grows as small trees or shrubs with clusters of rich yellow to orange-red flowers.
35 They're very hardy and are not prone to a lot of diseases.
36 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.
37 This variety is Hamamelis feuerzauber 'Fire Charm' - a copper-red witch hazel.
38 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.
39 Witch-hazel also works well as a natural remedy because it contains tannins, which when applied to the skin, can help decrease swelling and fight bacteria.