It’s almost May, one of the busiest times of the growing season for those gardeners in my neck of the woods. There are many items on the to-do list, from sowing seeds to caring for seedlings and harvesting early bloomers. Add to this the big job of garden cleanup from weeding, preparing the beds, scrubbing pots, and checking on gardening tools. We are about to dive headfirst into the busiest part of the 2022 growing season, but first, let’s look back at what was growing on in the garden in April.
April’s fickle weather certainly kept me on my toes, from a day in the high 80s to nights in the low 30s. Once during the month, we had a forty-degree temperature swing in less than 24 hours! We’ve also experienced a large amount of rainfall that has led to flooding several times this month. I continue to run back and forth to the garden covering and uncovering vulnerable plants in hopes that they will not succumb to these climate extremes. There are days when I start to fret about the buds on the peonies, blueberries, and lilacs, hoping they will make it through when the temperatures dip below freezing. Fingers crossed that they remain resilient.
Many other spring flowers have started to bloom in April, including forsythias, crabapples, and magnolias. The weeping cherry tree put on a delightful display of creamy white flowers abuzz with pollinator activity. I could have stayed under the flower-laden branches for hours, watching the bees buzz back and forth. How wonderful to see these pollinating garden companions once again! And the scent from those blooms was intoxicating, like an elixir to all the winter woes. Of course, the show was fleeting as the blooms only lasted a few short days, but what a show it was!
My garden beds have also sprung to life this month with a glorious display of daffodil and tulip blooms. These flowers are always so cheerful in their bright, happy colors, and I can’t help but pick handfuls of them to bring inside for enjoyment. The daffodils dot the landscape with their assortment of colors and shapes that are delightful. Again, I can’t help but smile when I see them.
In the fall, I planted 300 tulip bulbs in the garden, and the beautiful blooms that are now making their appearance were well worth the effort. I have been picking bouquets daily, bringing some inside to enjoy, and gifting bouquets to others, hoping to brighten their day and bring a smile.
When checking on my stored dahlia tubers, I noticed that some of them are starting to wake up! After tediously researching how to dig up, divide, and store my tubers for the first time, I can’t tell you how satisfying it is to see those sprouts. It is thrilling to know that I have accomplished these tasks. I can’t wait to see these plants when they are in full bloom this summer. It won’t be long before I will be potting them up and then transplanting them into the garden. New tubers are also starting to arrive in the mail, which I purchased online during the winter blues when I missed the garden. I am drastically increasing the number of dahlia plants in the garden this year between my saved tubers and the new varieties I ordered. I hope they will put on a dazzling show.
Besides new dahlia tubers, I also purchased three bare-root rose bushes this month. I am a bit intimidated by roses, as I feel they can be finicky and difficult to grow. However, I couldn’t resist bringing ‘Charles Darwin,’ ‘Emily Bronte,’ and ‘Eustacia Vye’ into my life and garden. I chose these varieties in particular not only because they’re beautiful roses and make great cut flowers but also because they are known for their ease of care and superior health. I have been reading up on rose care, and I hope that I can enjoy these rose bushes for years to come with a bit of luck.
Also, in April, I spent a marathon day in the kitchen preserving some of last season’s berries into jam. Five hours, four batches, several burns, two sore feet, and a jam-stained apron later, I had 36 blackberry and raspberry jam jars. Canning jam was part of my mission to empty the freezer in preparation for this year’s harvests. It’s hard to believe that I will be filling our freezer with fresh berries once again in a few short months.
Lastly, I wanted to give an update on the new garden space. We have made some progress with several completed projects and the starting of others. The new retaining wall is finished, and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! The landscaping crew we hired did a fabulous job. They still have a few more minor details to finish around the site, but it was great to complete this significant piece of the project. The new picket garden fence got a coat of bright white paint, and I love how it looks. It transformed the garden space and matches so nicely with the potting shed. In the shed, or floral studio, as I like to call it, we painted the walls a creamy white and laid down flooring. It is so exciting to see the project coming together. There is still much work to do in the new garden space and studio, but it is exhilarating to see progress being made.
So, as we head into the busy growing season, when it sometimes feels overwhelming, I like to pause and look back at what has been accomplished. I want to remember all the special moments I experienced in the garden the previous month, and April had many to offer. So, that’s what’s growing on in my garden this month; what’s growing on in yours?