We knew there would still be some cooler weather. Frost, maybe a hard
freeze – let’s hope no snow. Rain, oh yes, we still need rain, a lot of moisture. Even though the little showers,mists and sprinkles have greened the grass, the ground is still very dry.
What should we do about our plants?
That is the BIG question among all the gardeners I know. Most have been holding off until the “magic” date of April 15. Even this date is too cool, usually, for seedlings, tender little plants purchased at the flower marts and those house plants you want to get outside for the summer (so you can reclaim your living room, den or kitchen counter).
You are looking for signs it is safe to start gardening outside? OK, are the flower marts up and open, have the organizational “Plant Sale” signs started appearing? These are indications that it is beginning to be safe to get the pansy bowls out. If you want to purchase hanging baskets, be prepared to take them in on mid 30 degree nights.
Roses that were buried have had their construction blankets removed. The bags of leaves are being mulched and will be put back on the beds as mulch as soon as the roses have been lifted from their winter burial ground.
Roses can take temperatures down to about 25 degrees so some of the growers have their plants up and have started pruning and feeding. As a safety measure they are watering down the plants at night and early morning to protect any young new growth.
All around us the yards and byways are showing their colors. Cercis – Redbud, Prunus – Cherry and Purple leafed Plum, Magnolia, Malus – Crab apple, are providing a magenta, pink to white glow in the landscape.
Shrubs such as Forsythia and Rhododendron were in full bloom; however, frost in some areas has turned the blossoms a mushy tan. Soon they will be followed by the fragrant Syringe– Lilac, with its numerous varieties.
There are drifts of daffodils intermingled with early tulips. Yes, there are early blooming tulips¸ those that bloom a little later and the late blooming ones. These blooming times will be tempered somewhat by weather: sunshine, rain, wind and temperature. But if you read the tags on the bulbs you’ll be able to plan and plant accordingly. Narcissius: ‘Trumpet Daffodils’, ‘Double Narcissi’, ‘Tazetta Narcissi’ and other varieties also have differing bloom times.
That first time you went out, pulled some weeds, dug a little in the garden did the body tell you it wasn’t quite as limber as you thought? Remember: easy does it, do some warm ups.
Gardening is not supposed to be an aerobic exercise. Mowing is not a marathon run, don’t try to make it one. Exhaustion is not the goal. If your pulse is over 100, your mouth is dry and you may, probably will start losing concentration, this is when the accidents happen. Stay hydrated.
Oh, yes, have your tetanus shot up to date. Scrapes, thorns, splinters, just little things you say --- accept if they get infected. Wear gloves, wear goggles, wear sunscreen, wash well with soap and water. These simple procedures will keep you safe and happy.
Most of all – enjoy being outside, enjoy the beauty, HAVE FUN in the yard, on the deck, in the garden.