By Phran Novelli

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Let’s get the Christmas decorations down, shall we? It’s been hard this year to get out and de-decorate because you can’t put a ladder up when there’s ice on the ground! And a lot of decorations actually froze in place and stayed that way for months.

By the way, if you still have lights on trees, I recommend removing them when you can. If you leave lights wound around tree branches year after year, the bark can grow over the wires, which isn’t good for the lights or the tree.

On a warm day last week, I finally managed to yank the holiday greens out of my pots – some with big blocks of soil frozen to them – while other branches had to be cut out with pruners! Once clear of holly boughs and spruce sprigs, I topped up my planters with potting soil and planted pansies; happy signs of spring and very hardy.

Pansies will flourish for months to come, shrugging off any snow – like the five inches that fell on them two days later – and smiling well into summer until they bake away in the hot July sun. Oooh, that sounds pretty good right now.