The several days of unseasonably warm weather have contributed to some elevated anxiety for me. I’m feeling behind with my early spring chores. I periodically remind myself to look at the calendar and chill out.

I admit I went crazy one afternoon with several seed packages. I planted beets, carrots, turnips, more lettuce and spinach in the hoophouse. I feel quite confident since the lettuce and spinach planted in November survived the early winter bitter cold stretch and are now thriving. I am about to pick some baby lettuce leaves this weekend.

A decade ago I started writing this column. I never imagined I would still be at it. One of my first writings was about the pruning of hydrangeas. I see no reason to avoid the subject this week. People, please resist the temptation to have at them with hedge clippers. The first order of business is understanding the nature of the different varieties. Let’s start with the old-fashioned ones. Allow me to digress briefly. In junior high school we were all required to take a few years of Latin. Naturally, we all hated it and could not imagine what possible good could come of it. Now that I’ve learned to love all things horticultural I finally got it. The Latin names of plants describe them. So back to the old-fashioned hydrangea macrophylla, which means big leaf. There are a huge number of cultivars in this genus. Niko Blue and Lace Caps are the most familiar. They bloom on old-growth so care must be taken to leave buds from the previous year’s growth in order to get blooms this year.

I prune everything around the plant to the ground to prevent flopping all over the lawn in the summer. I sit on a bucket and cozy right up with sharp Felcos in hand. Every branch that is crooked, rubbing on its neighbor or just plain annoys me is removed. Word to the wise (from all mothers everywhere) you do not want to lose an eye so protect them.

Any branch that has the potential of rubbing on the house has to go. You want to save your shingles. I worry free all the dead stalks at ground level. This is a satisfying task. Done properly, you will be very pleased with the appearance even now with no leaves or flowers.

Now, for the smooth leaf arborescens. You must know Annabelle. With large white flowers, she blooms on new growth so can be cut right to the ground. I’ve done it for years with much success. Michael Dirr says in his Manual of Woody Landscape Plants of Annabelle: “I have heard garden cognoscenti say the flowers are too large, gauche, obtrusive; one person’s favorite garden plant is another’s bane, life is great.”

Finally, hydrangea paniculata is really different in appearance. You may know PG or Tardida cultivars? Again, new growth produces flowers so I cut each stem down to about four inches from the main branches. It will put on three feet or more growth in one year. Feel free to toss some Pro-holly around the base of each finished shrub.

Some really fun news this week — I have several blooming snowdrops. I never even noticed the emerging foliage. I need to beef up my observation skills. Recently, I saw a deer skeleton on State Road opposite the entrance to West Spring street. It must have been there since summer.

I’ve been following the Mueller investigation as if I am in the middle of a Russian novel. I am restraining from comment for now. It does seem likely to run its course.

Here we are at another week of coverage of the latest mass shooting. I, like many others including students across the nation, am sick of the same old “thoughts and prayers” from our elected officials. There was an old wood cut in the Hearth and Kettle of Falmouth. I think that place is no more. Anyway, it is two men in a boat. The caption reads: “Pray to God but row toward shore.”