Wow, March sure did go by quickly! I can hardly believe I’m sitting down to write March’s summary of what’s growing on in the garden. Despite a few lingering snowstorms, spring seems to be taking a firm hold. And while nighttime temperatures can still dip into the thirties, the daytime temperatures are rising overall. As I write this, I sit outside on a beautiful 70-degree day. The sun is shining, and everywhere I look, I see signs of flora and fauna coming back to life after a long winter. It feels wonderful. The garden is just waking up, and I am ready to have a front-row seat!
So, what was I up to in the garden this past month? Much of the same as in February, with a few additions:
Flower Update: The ranunculus, anemones, and sweet peas continue to grow strong roots during these cooler temperatures. The plants have started to bulk up and leaf out more. I spied the first bud on one of the anemones a few days ago. It has been a game of back and forth as the temperature swings have me constantly running to the garden to put the plastic on and off the low tunnel. But at least I’m getting my exercise! I’m happy with the progress of the ranunculus in particular and hope that our spring temperatures don’t rise too quickly so that these plant babies I’ve been pampering since January can live up to their full potential. I can’t wait to see them bloom.
The nearly 1,000 tulips and daffodils I planted last fall are popping up and have started forming buds. They seem ready for their April debut. With our warmer-than-usual winter, the stem length will differ from what we hope for. But, regardless of shorter stems, I’m hopeful that the blooms themselves will still be dazzling. I’m anxious to see the new varieties I’ve planted and the annual favorites. One type of daffodil, Erlicheer, was confused by our warm winter and sprouted in late November. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, the foliage was damaged by frost, and I won’t be able to share them this year. Still, I was so happy to see them bloom, and they certainly lived up to their name by flowering early. I picked a few and placed them in a vase for enjoyment. I am smitten with the dainty double flowers and the divine scent of this variety. Excitement grew as I realized these were the season’s first Whistling Bee Farm flowers! Hopefully, there will be many more to come.
Also popping up in the garden are many of our perennials, such as peonies, yarrow, helenium, alliums, sedum, delphinium, and coneflowers. Our flowering trees and shrubs, such as lilacs, hydrangeas, St. John’s Wort, blueberries, and weeping cherry, show signs of buds about to burst open for the season. The peonies seem to grow an inch a day in these warmer spring temperatures, and I’m ecstatic to see that the bare roots I planted in the fall are all sending up shoots. I can’t wait to share these beautiful flowers in the future.
Getting Inspired: I also attended the annual Adams Garden Show in March. It was an excellent way to get inspired, and it felt so good to see colorful flowers again. This show always gets me excited for the upcoming growing season.
And speaking of inspiration, I have thoroughly enjoyed my certification classes to become a Pollinator Steward. They have had fantastic speakers with truly inspiring stories. I am learning something new with each session and am excited to put what I am learning into practice this season. I haven’t seen our first pollinators yet, but I know it won’t be long!
And if you saw my post from last week, you’ll know I’m not quite ready for spring garden cleanup. As much as I’m itching to get out there and tidy the beds, I’m holding off for the sake of the pollinators.
Planting Time: Seed starting ramped up as the growing season approaches. I spent time in March directly sowing several varieties, such as bupleurum, ammi, and larkspur, while starting other types indoors, such as feverfew, yarrow, and dusty miller. April will become a seeding marathon as so many of our flowers will need to be started then.
The Dahlia Project: Our 2023 Dahlia Project has begun, and all 30 new dahlia varieties we will be trialing this season have been ordered. I was notified that some of those tubers have already shipped this week! All of these varieties we are trialing have been recommended by other growers for their productivity and vase life. By the end of the season, we will have determined which dahlias will have a permanent spot here on the farm. We want to share the very best flowers that we can! Besides the new varieties, I have frequently checked on our stored tubers from last season. So far, they look great, and many show signs of waking up. I will be making some tough decisions about which of our stored tubers will be grown out this season. Some, while beautiful, won’t make the cut because of size or low productivity. I wish I could grow them all, but my limited space will force me to make difficult decisions. I look forward to sharing the progress and results of this project with all of you.
That wraps up what was growing on the farm in March. I’d love to hear what was growing on in your garden. Until next time, Happy Growing!