Early spring is good for your garden, but you need to protect flowers from any late freezes

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GUILFORD--Spring is in full swing--wait, spring doesn't start until March 20!

As the warm weather makes an early entry, so does the need to tend to your gardens.

And while that's good for business in general, it's making it tough for some local shops.

"There's a lot that hasn't arrived," said John Chambers, of Shelly's Garden Center in Branford.

And while the shop has some pansies in stock--a flower that can handle early springs that have warmth followed by random cold spurts--that's all that's ready so far.

And the early spring is more of a surprise than ever, considering the deep freeze we had for months just last year. "There was ice in front of the building, there was still two feet of frost on the ground," said Chambers.

Meanwhile, at Page Hardware, they're dealing with a similar situation. Mark Altmannsberger, who has been in the industry for 40 years, says he can control everything, but that doesn't extend to the weather.

"Usually by March we're still maybe sitting in snow, but with the upcoming weather, we are now pushing to get going here," said Altmannsberger.

For those of you starting to tend your own gardens, Altmannsberger has a tip: "What I suggest first is that you buy a lawn rake, rake it up, all that dead material, I'm sure there's a lot of sticks and debris in there. You want to get the lawn opened up."

But hold off on the fertilizer, because the ground needs to warm up a bit first for the product to work properly.

Meanwhile, Chambers says to just hang tight and they'll have what you desire soon. "You get to the end of April, into May, you'll have just about everything that you could imagine," he said.