April 12 and I manage to get out by boat to my rose garden on an island in Vasa. Early bloomers welcome me as I arrive: Winter Aconites, Snow Drops, Scillas, Hellebores and, to my surprise, also the ornamental strawberry 'Pink Panda'. When planting I was not sure the Winter Aconites would make it in Vasa, but now they are spreading nicely.

We had a bad winter storm which took down a few big spruces at the outskirts of the garden, so much of my time went into clearing the garden from the fallen trunks. Roses that had got a soil cover or been buried for the winter were cleared of spruce branches and oak leaves. During the coming week I expect the sun to melt the frost from the ground making it possible to rid the roses of their last remaining winter protection, soil. I am especially interested in finding out how last year's rose seedlings have fared. They normally need a frost free environment for the two first winters so I gave them some extra soil and lots of oak leaves last fall. Remains to be seen if I gave them enough protection.

The hardy roses I left without winter protection altogether have survied the winter without any frost damage. Deer and hares have cut back roses and other bushes to their own liking. I must admit I don't like them as helpers in the garden.

The oak leaves I have gathered in a big pile and plan to run them over with my lawn mover. That way I will get a nice pile of new peat within a couple of years.

The roses I have kept in the cellar during the winter don't give me much hope (see earlier article). They have been thoroughly soaked and put into the ground. I still hope that at least a few will start growing.