It’s officially Spring! At least according to the calendar on our wall. So, I’m saying goodbye, winter, and hello garden season! It‘s finally time to get my hands back into the soil, and I couldn’t be happier. All that time spent planning, seed shopping, and dreaming of the garden over those long, cold winter days is about to pay off. I can’t wait to get growing! So, now that the gardening season has started, it is time to bring back our monthly blog posting of ‘What’s Growing on in the Garden.’
Admittedly, there isn’t too much growing on, as the early spring temperatures fluctuate considerably. It’s that time of year when you must dress in layers and change outfits several times a day, too hot one minute and too cold the next. I often feel like Mother Nature is just throwing out Powerball numbers in early spring when deciding the temperature: 50, 33, 25, 56, 28, 63. Did we win? I’m not even sure. Mother Nature likes to throw curveballs; we still have the occasional nighttime temperature dipping below freezing, and snowstorms are still possible. This time of year, I feel more like a marathoner than a gardener- running back and forth to the garden frequently while watching the thermometer. I continually cover and uncover my plants throughout the day and night, constantly worrying if my little plant babies are too hot or too cold, fretting that their imminent death is on the horizon.
Early spring is also when I eagerly play the game of ‘I Spy’ as I walk around the yard. I spy with my little eye tulips and daffodils, waking up from their long winter’s nap, peonies and iris poking out of the ground, and garlic shoots, green and tender, waving their green flags in the breeze. I spy with my little eye buds on the lilac bush, new leaves on the yarrow plants, and a hint of yellow on my neighbor’s forsythia. The sights and sounds of spring surround me every time I step outside. Peeper frogs are singing, birds are chirping and gathering nesting materials, and the sun is a more frequent visitor-the world around me is about to spring back to life!
I apprehensively planted out my ranunculus, anemone, and sweet pea seedlings this month. I had tended to them for nearly a month indoors, and now it was time to put them out into the world so that they could bloom. Being my first time growing all three of these plants, I remain nervous that they will be hardy enough to survive our fluctuations in temperature. But, so far, they have weathered two snowstorms, a severe thunderstorm, high winds, and below-freezing temperatures. Each time I cross my fingers when I pull back the protective covers; I am elated when I find that they are still flourishing. Plants are amazing.
I have also gathered all my seed starting supplies, the grow lights and heat mats, the seed trays and potting mix, the tags, and domes—an avalanche of products ready to make my garden dreams come true. First up, sowing the seeds that take their time to germinate: the snapdragons, rudbeckia, and feverfew. These seeds, so tiny that you can barely see them, test my patience and fortitude as I painstakingly sowed each one. My eyes were bugged from squinting to see the small seeds by the time I was done, but my heart was happy. The next step will test my patience further as I must wait to see if they germinate. Every hour or so, I peer into the dome as if expecting that perhaps, just for me, they will spring to life in record time.
We finally got back to my potting shed project since the weather started warming. The shiplap installation is now complete on the interior. Next up will be a coat of paint and laying the flooring, and I can hardly wait. Also, as I type this, landscapers are building a retaining wall in front of the shed to hold back our hilly landscape and create an area that will, eventually, be home to some shade-loving flowering shrubs. I am also anxious to finish the garden fencing, which needs to be painted and affixed with wire mesh to keep the critters out. General clean-up and bed extension are also items on the list of to-dos for the garden expansion project. This project has been exciting and overwhelming at the same time, but I look forward to seeing the result.
I braved the dahlia frenzy this month and snagged a few last-minute tubers at online sales. I didn’t get all I’d hoped for, but I did secure a ‘Polka’ tuber. Polka is a variety I’ve been trying to get my hands on for over a year. Did I need more dahlia tubers? Technically no, but spiritually yes.
I also spent many days throughout March educating myself through books, seminars, and videos, preparing for the growing season to come. I never want to stop learning, and there is so much more I want to know. Hopefully, I can use the acquired knowledge to grow myself and my plants. It will be an exciting year in the garden; I can feel it. That’s what’s growing on in my garden; what’s growing on in yours?