EACH MAY I ENCOURAGE all of us to bear in mind, amid the craze, that there is nothing wrong that some good-quality mulch won’t enhance visually (while helping develop soil underneath as a bonus). I’m spreading it as quickly as I can, but I need to say:

Winters ain’t what they used to be (for much better or worse). In 2019, I feel like we froze and defrosted more times than I could count, and “mud season” appears to be much of the year-long now. In 2018, the worst of it came late and stayed later. In 2017, as now appears to be the pattern, the snow barely melted in time to stuff in spring cleanup before garden-visiting occasions began. In 2016, it was different: Some consequences of that Winter season That Wasn’t that year might not be hidden, and had to be erased by more violent tactics, like a large chain connected to a giant truck to tug out unexpectedly dead trees and shrubs for whom a “mild” winter season (following a dry 2015 growing season) actually might have implied terminal havoc. What will the next one be like?

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