Well, despite a long and deep frost (almost no snow cover until the end of winter), we are off to a good start. We did get some large dead spots in the lawn, but surprisingly, all shrubs and perennials survived. It is definitely on the dry side, but with plenty of time to recover if we get some timely rains.

I've already added a fresh layer of mulch to all of the flower beds, harvested a few fist fulls of chives, and will be planting vegetables next weekend. Plum trees have just finished blooming, pears & crabapples are in peak bloom, and apples are almost to peak. Strawberries and blueberries are just starting to flower.

I did have one mistake that might cost me. Strawberry beds are typically abandoned after 4 or 5 years. They are highly susceptible to endemic diseases (it's almost automatic - at least by us) and really don't produce much anyway after 5 years. So I started a new bed in a different location, then killed off the old patch and planted it in raspberries. I put in 7 plants, mostly those big gold ones. Now I read that they are susceptible to the same disease (verticulum wilt) and should not be planted where strawberries had grown anytime in the previous 3 years.

RATS! Missed that in my research. I noticed some withering and dead canes the end of last summer. Might as well wait to see if they make it.