After a long period of hibernation, the slumbering, catalog-crazed gardener emerges from the nook by the fireside. Stepping gingerly outside the back door, it is time to reconnect with the still frozen wasteland that used to be called your garden.

What a hard winter! Frozen rain and strong winds have broken branches and knocked down trees. For months there has been no access to the compost heap because snow blocked the gate; instead, old fruit and vegetables have been lobbed, still bagged, over the fence in the vague direction of the heap. Frigid temperatures have tested new plant zone hardiness ratings. What will we find in our gardens as the snow and ice melt?

If this your first time going round your garden for a while, it is a time to wander and observe the tiny changes that even slightly warmer weather brings. The birds are “peep, peeping” from the trees. You know that the sap is rising inside the tree trunks. Maybe there is a snowdrop poking its spear-like nose through the ground. The citrusy smell of a witch hazel catches you unawares. Revel in the joy of the coming seasons. Spring will be arriving. Savor this moment of peace before the flurry of gardening activities.

Photo copyright 2014 Jenny Rose Carey