Posts Tagged ‘spring’

Spring! Not Quite Sprung

Snowdrops are still blooming in many gardens. Usually they'd be finished by now.

Snowdrops are still bloom­ing in many gar­dens. Usually they’d be fin­ished by now.

April really has been the cru­elest month this year. Our win­ter sim­ply would not leave, like the dread­ful last guest at a party. We’re about a month later than usual in the gar­den sea­son: Early cro­cuses are a no-show, and the maple tree’s frothy green flowers—that wel­come swath of green in April that’s spring’s true marker—haven’t yet made an appear­ance. But we can still dive in and get ready to gar­den. Here are things you can do to kick off your gar­den­ing season.

  • Start tak­ing house plants out­doors. Philodendrons, pothos, dra­cena, san­sev­e­ria, suc­cu­lents, etc. Make sure you place them in a shady spot for first few weeks. North side of a house is good. Direct sun out­doors will burn leaves if you make a sud­den change from indoor gloom to intense out­door rays.
  • Monitor night-time tem­per­a­tures, and be ready to cover any house plants you’ve placed out­doors if weather goes below zero, (use a blan­ket or a duvet, topped with an old shower cur­tain) or  bring back inside overnight. Keeping plants in trays helps with this, until you can safely leave out with no chance of frost.
  • Take herbs out­doors, like rose­mary you’ve over­win­tered, again, in the shade.
  • Loosen leaf mulch on gar­den beds, or remove entirely to let sun warm soil. You can add mulch back later on in sea­son when things heat up again.
  • Turn on your out­door tap and attach your gar­den hose.
  • Fertilize your house­plants, or gera­ni­ums you’ve over­win­tered. Use a half strength solu­tion of organic liq­uid fer­til­izer, like kelp.


Missing: Snowdrops

 snowdrops-w-snow-2

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.



Garden Leftovers

potting shelf with pots
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.

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It’s Rhubarb Season

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.

 

stalk

 

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 »



Ground Covers for a Super Low-Maintenance Garden

Geranium Macrorrhizum, Bevan's Variety, a stalwart perennial groundcover.

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.

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