I saw my first robin on Saturday, sitting in the crabapple tree outside the kitchen window (the robin, not me!). I can also report that at long last the snowdrops on the south side of the house finally are up and opening. Their tips appeared on March 20th but it's taken a good ten days for the ground to thaw enough for them to actually push up through it. Still not much of a show at this point. But a few more warm days should provide me with a better display.
There's still a fair amount of snow in the garden but there are also enough signs of life to convince me the worst of the winter is over. Though they won't flower until June, these water iris (Iris laevigata) started growing the minute the ice melted at the edge of the pond.
Most of the Hellebores are still buried in the snow. I can't get close enough to cut back the leaves, let alone see if any buds are peeking up.
In the stream-side bog, the melting snow reveals plenty of green: rather sad-looking primroses and a perky dwarf Hart's Tongue fern (center front).
An older and larger Hart's Tongue fern is pushing right through the snow. The weeping hemlock next to it doesn't seem to have suffered any obvious winter damage.
My eight-year-old species peony, P. japonica, has buds that will easily be a few inches high by the end of the week. These peonies flower before the trees leaf out and I often have to cover them when they are completely up and fully budded if we have April frosts and snow.