February’s snow in the northern U.S. can be dreary for the gardener. The fall clean-up is but a distant memory, yet spring planting is far away. What is a gardener to do? This is merely a suggestion of what the gardener can do to keep dreary winter blues at bay. Do not overlook the library. This is the time to learn and dream, but use caution or you will spend next spring’s gardening budget on fines for overdue books.
The season for gardening is over in the Midwest. No more planting until spring. Weeding is finished. The dahlias turned black with the first frost, and now are safely tucked away for winter in a cool spot in the basement. The pots from the patio are clean and stored in the garage. Now is the time to contemplate the past season to determine what went right, what went wrong, and what needs to be different next year. Pen in hand, I start my list on a fresh sheet of white paper.
It’s not a secret I share often, and I must be careful who knows, but I love to weed. The compulsion is irresistible. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy planting and deadheading very much. I like turning over dirt for a brand new flower bed. But I love weeding. There. My confession is now in black and white.
Everyone who would listen was told of tulips that would one day grace the front of the porch of our new house. The grand idea met negative reactions. “Tulips only bloom for a week,” was the constant comment, followed by the logical question, “What will you do when the tulips are gone?” Each contradictory response strengthened my resolve. I wasn’t even a gardener yet. But I would show them. I would show them all!
Note to all gardeners: Stop reading now! If you enjoy gardening, print this article and leave it where your loved ones will readily find it. We recommend the bathroom, the car, underneath the remote control, and taped to any mirror in the house. If you are not a gardener, but you have loved ones who garden on your gift list, you will find the following helpful. The gift-giving season has officially arrived. Are you ready? Do you know what your gardener really wants?
‘Tis the season for pretty gift boxes promising Amaryllis for growing indoors. This time of year, boxes of bulb kits line the shelves of upscale nurseries and big box stores, sometimes even grocery checkout lanes. For a mere $4.99, $9.99 or $14.99, depending on store, location, but largely upon beauty of the box, they offer springtime anytime. Of course, you may only get half what you pay for, and the box tells half the story.
One of the reasons we tend flower gardens is to enjoy nature’s beauty. With the beauty, however, comes some of nature’s uglies. I’m talking about creatures, six and eight-legged ones in particular, but including some nasty creatures such as slugs that I’ve only seen pictured on Dave’s Garden. So imagine my distaste a few nights ago when from a distance I saw what looked like dark buds on the goldenrod. I stepped forward for a closer look. Those dark buds were bugs! Hundreds of bugs! Thousands of bugs! Millions of them! And they were only on the goldenrod.
The dreams and desires of the gardener are different from normal folk. We dream of discovering blue tulips when the rest of the world dreams of winning the lottery. We desire acres of weed-free earth replete with earthworms when everyone else wants a red sports car. Nowhere is the misunderstanding more prevalent than in the gift exchange. We gardeners know what we want, but on gift-giving holidays, what do we usually get?
My gardening friend, Susan, said it only took her seven years to get rid of her lawn altogether, filling it instead with scrumptious daylilies, irises, and morning glories. On a garden tour last year, one of the hosts said it only took her seven years to amass the luxurious garden that once was a mere yard. I want a garden with no lawn. I itch for one. I’m willing to work at it for seven years. But only seven.
Gardeners vary in their approach to naming flower and vegetable beds. Some name by bed location, South Bed, Garage Bed, Easement Bed. Many name their plots by what is contained, Perennial Garden, White Garden, Fountain Garden. The creative name their parcels as though from an upscale estate, regardless of the meaning: Eastside Morning Garden, Vibrant Illusion Bed, Cervine Bed. For sake of simplicity and science, horticultural beds should have logical intuitive names.
Fligh Buhnight Nurseries at Helengone, Arizona, is pleased to announce its recent acquisition of the rare and exotic. This week only, we offer to the public those plants and products recently discovered in remote location along the shores of Nevada, and bulbs previously known only to the Sasquatch in the mountains of Iowa.
Safety is one thing. Tragedies occur when loose clothing is worn around machinery. Modesty is something else. We’ve all seen bikini tops in the garden worn by someone who shouldn’t be seen in less than a poncho. We shall attempt to address here uncommon sense borne of common errors in garden clothing.
Much has been written about style including fashion style, communication style, writing style, and even romance style. One may take a quiz in any number of popular periodicals to determine if a person’s fashion style is dramatic, classic, romantic, or just plain “ick.” Of course there are styles of gardens including formal or cottage, but what of gardeners themselves? What style of gardener are you? Not to be outdone by scholarly scientific researchers, we suggest the following quiz will be helpful. Following the quiz is a brief description of each style of gardener.
There is no humor in this subject. If you are still grieving the loss of a recent tornado, fire, hurricane, flood, earthquake or other disaster, this article is not for you. If some time has passed since your disaster, and you are thinking of starting over in the garden, you are welcome to read my experience and suggestions, and take from it anything you may find useful.
Do you ever get the feeling that a particular plant is out to get you? Seems everyone can grow it easily except you. Do you spend hours wondering what you should be doing differently, moving it from location to location, trying different fertilizers? Relax and stop worrying. You’re right; the plant hates you. Here are two roses, recent additions to the same neighborhood. And this is their tale:
The wise have said that the best ideas are simple. Too bad I never listened. When our new house was built, its stark white siding with inviting green shutters and roof demanded color immediately. Our large lot and lack of trees allowed plenty of room for imagination. And color.