The weather has really been heating up round the Midwest. Mild temperatures have summoned me outside to begin assessing what winter clean-up is required before spring planting can begin. Loads of broken branches, roadside raking from snow plow digs and trash pick-up from winter litter bugs. In this day and age it still amazes me how much litter can be found roadside out here in the middle of nowhere.

The large snow bank has finally melted enough to allow access the vegetable garden. I was thrilled to deposit all the winter compost yesterday. Much to my surprise, and my shoes, the garden is not as muddy as I originally thought. I've consulted the farmer's almanac and found it is still to 'wet' in the garden to begin working the ground but in two weeks, give or take a few rainfalls, all bets are off!

I've begun making a plant purchase lists: one PJM Rhododendron, one Annabelle Hydrangea, one Knock Out Rose bush, one Clematis Julia and some fragrant peonies have made the list so far. I've checked the raspberry plants acquired very late last fall and fear they may have not survived the harsh winter; unless they produce new shoots each year.

Today the wicker sets made their appearance on the front porch and I've already begun thinking about plans for the hanging and container planters. Traditionally I've gone with deep purples, vivid pinks and bright whites when it came to flower choices but perhaps changing it up a bit this year is just the ticket.

Last year I shared my little 'green' secret to keeping hanging baskets from drying out but because so many of you are in warmer climates and had already planted you were not able to use the tip (unless you wanted to replant all your hanging baskets of course). Next week I will once again re-post this helpful green planting tip for each of you. I'd love for you to share your container and hanging basket plans!

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