Spring? What Spring? It’s the first day of spring, but you’d never know it. Normally we’d be seeing these little beauties popping up in our gardens, but with the freezing weather we’ve been enduring, our spring bulbs—like the snowdrops—have so far been no shows. Most gardeners, me included, are ready to tear their hair out with the long wait this year for some decent weather and signs of life. I’d even like a rainy day at this point. A warm one, preferably.
But there are signs that spring approaches, even if it’s not exactly on time: the snow is melting, the days are getting longer, and in the meantime, there are activities that can give us a little taste of spring. Visit Canada’s Garden Show, Canada Blooms, (which is on for three more days), for instance. Start some seeds, peruse a few catalogues. It won’t be long now. I’ll be checking every day to see my first snowdrop.
Sometimes gardeners get a little overzealous in the plant-buying area. I confess I do this pretty much every season. It’s the eyes bigger than garden syndrome. The result is, I’ve got a small pile of perennials in pots that I simply haven’t had time to add to the garden. I’m not even sure exactly where I want to plant them. What to do, now that winter is hot in pursuit? Plants are unlikely to survive in pots over winter, so something must be done to preserve them for planting properly in the spring.
The easiest thing to do is to plunge the plants, pots and all into some kind of winter holding area. If you have a vegetable garden, that is the perfect place for this. Dig a hole deep enough to place the pot right in the ground, matching the soil level. You don’t have to worry about spacing, as this is only a temporary stopgap. Cover with mulch after the ground has frozen, some time in December. In the spring, dig whole pot up and plant into a permanent location.
Name me a vegetable that grows like a weed, and is so good and versatile you can have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner; serve it with yogurt and ice cream, cook it with pork, and even make a cocktail out of it.
Although rhubarb grows throughout the spring, summer and fall it is most often associated with late spring. The appearance of rhubarb in our fields, gardens, and on our supermarket shelves sends many of us into the kitchen with an armful of the bright red and green stalks, ready to roast, stew and candy turning them into cakes, pastries, sauces, jams, fools and even cocktails. Continue »
Geranium Macrorrhizum, Bevan’s Variety, a stalwart perennial groundcover, blooms in early spring and summer.
Are you the kind of busy person who might not go so far as pouring concrete on your front yard, but you want something almost as low-maintenance? I urge anyone with self-described “black thumbs” not go the concrete route, because help is at hand in the form of spreading ground covers. They can take the place of grass on your front yard and require almost nothing from you. The thick growth of the two ground cover plants listed below will shade out weed seeds, making weed growth minimal to none.
These crocuses dazzle with a splash of heavenly white.
This group of flawless, white crocuses stopped me in my tracks on a rare sunny afternoon this week. While purple and yellow crocuses are a welcome treat for the eyes, starved for actual colour in early spring, the pure white of this gleaming, white crocus drew me like a magnet. Radiant yellow stamens glowed in the interior. I made a mental note to plant some groups of white crocuses in my garden next fall.
Why this planting works so well, is that the crocuses are planted close together in a clump. All bulbs appear at their best when planted in close groupings rather than spotted singly. A great way to get this effect is to buy crocus in pots in spring, (meaning: right now, if your ground is soft enough), dig holes in bare spots, and tuck them into your garden. Next fall, your planting will already be done.