Gardening has been a lifelong passion for Wende and she’d like to share her passion with her readers. Follow her as she writes about her gardening adventures, lists tasks to do depending on the season, and gives easy to understand gardening advice.
Now that Spring is here (almost) I'm sure the gardeners reading this are starting to dream of beautiful flowers blooming in their yards. It's also the time for gardening catalogs showing up in mailboxes, sales flyers for Steins and coupons from smaller greenhouses. I always treasure The Gardener's Idea Book from Proven Winners that comes in the mail. I got on their email list a few years ago and they automatically mail it out. http://www.provenwinners.com/ Proven Winners are particularly hardy annuals, perennials and shrubs and are available at several outlets. Their website will search for retailers near you. If you are a beginning gardener, they have lists of the easiest plants to grow and will make you look like a star if you follow their advice and water and feed your plants correctly.
It's time to start some seeds indoors if you are the type that likes to do this. It's not for everyone, but if you have the time it can be really rewarding. I find it really helps pull you out of the winter doldrums most of us gardeners have as it gets us actually "doing" something garden-like instead of just dreaming about it!
Great News! After 20 years, the USDA has updated the Plant Hardiness Zones! Beware, our Zone 4 (or 5 depending on where you live) has now become Zone 5b (-15 to -10F). The new 13 zone map has been brought into the internet age with GIS-based interactive maps and more accurate zones that take into consideration things like elevation, terrain, and closeness to bodies of water. Using a 30 year timespan (unlike the 1990 version that used a 13 yr span), many more weather stations, and expert input from the climatic and horticultural community, the map is much more accurate than it was plus it shows a 5 degree increase (warmer) overall for the US.
With all this warm weather lately, the plants think Spring is almost here! I noticed buds on trees that are easily seen as I drive by, tulips are trying to poke through the ground, and my parsley is still green and growing in the back yard!
Winter is hard to wait out for a gardener, but there are things that you can do now to prepare for the spring planting season...
I look out my front window seething, watching well-fed bunnies happily hopping all around my yard. Don't let them fool you - even though they are fluffy and cute, they are pure evil under all that silky soft fur and innocent demeanor. Just ask Elmer Fudd and his friends – who have hunted and tracked their silly prey for over 70 years. Bugs Bunny is less interested in escape than in driving his pursuer insane and can be heard to say (with casual unconcern), “What’s Up, Doc?”. Well, bunnies, I will hunt you down, trap you all, and get rid of you – for the next 70 years if I have to! You have eaten your last tulip just as it opens up – sawing off the flower stem with a diagonal bite and leaving the flower petals to dry up on the lawn in the spring sun. To use your own catchphrase, "Of course you realize this means war!" This is not fun and games. You seriously have to go.
It’s Spring! You want to get out there and do some of those landscaping projects you didn’t get to last year. A new flower bed would be nice, or you want to plant a tree, maybe create a retaining wall. You have been thinking about what you want it to look like all winter. Maybe you have already purchased materials for your project. I’m sure you have also drawn a rough sketch of what you want to do. It should be easy, right? You have a free weekend, let’s go!
As the days get warmer I am compelled to get outside and start looking at my flower beds. We moved to this house in late November, so I have no idea what spring flowers may pop up, and what perennials will emerge soon. I did a walk around the last few days to see if I can see some bulbs popping up, and I did notice a few, but there were some obvious empty places still. Friends that live in the Waukesha area have told me that their spring flowers are already up and blooming!