by Barbara Kozlowski,

Master Gardener, CCE

Spring — the calendar says it’s spring, but this latest snowfall brings us back to winter. I did see a few of my early spring bulbs poking their leaves thru the frozen soil, waiting for warmer weather and sunshine.

If you are at all like me, you can hardly wait to get out into your garden. Most gardens need a little cleanup from the late fall and winter. Broken branches, late season falling leaves, plant stalks left in the garden for the winter, birdseed leftovers, etc.

As anxious as we may be, we also must very careful to protect those early bulb and plant shoots. When you start to uncover these, do it gradually so they are somewhat protected from any additional freezing weather we may experience and from hungry deer or rabbits. Squirrels also like to get into tender green shoots and dig up any bulbs they may have missed in the fall.

Our lawns also need to be checked for late fall and winter damage. Snow mold, as well as vole and mole tracks, can do harm to our lawns and need to be addressed. As the snow melts, if you have an area where the snow has drifted in, take a rake or garden hoe and spread this snow out. It will melt more easily and will prevent additional damage to your lawn.

This is also the perfect time to check shrubs and trees for broken branches and damage created during the winter months. Clean and sharpen your trimmers — if you didn’t do so in the fall — and trim back these broken branches. Be careful not to do any heavy pruning on spring-blooming shrubs or trees that bloom in the spring. The emerging blossoms would be trimmed off and would not bloom this season. This is true for lilacs, rhododendron, azaleas, magnolias, red bud and similar flowering trees and shrubs.

I will keep you posted on upcoming gardening events with descriptions, dates and times. In May, Gardening Day will be presented by the Master Gardeners of Cattaraugus County, and starting in July, Wednesdays in the Arboretum will begin.

Enjoy your garden and if you have any questions, contact me through the Ellicottville Times by emailing or calling (716) 699-4062.