It’s spring! Gardeners renew hopes for success

By on April 13, 2014
garden col pussy will C

Get out & grow 4C

I came across this little poem recently and thought it was particularly appropriate this spring after our long and nasty winter:

There is no unbelief;
Whoever plants a seed beneath the sod
And waits to see it push away the clod,
He trusts in God.

Whoever says when clouds are in the sky,
Be patient, heart, light breaketh by and by,
Trusts the Most High.

Whoever sees neath the field of winter snow,
The silent harvest of the future grow
God’s power must know.

Edward Bulwer-Lytton

The poem, though obviously spiritual in nature, also spoke to me of the special hope that gardeners always carry through every growing season; that although gardening can be fraught with disappointment and discouragement, next season will be better. The hope that no matter how long the winter, spring, and eventually, summer will come.

I haven’t been able to get out into the yard to start the spring clean-up yet and it’s been way too cold to plant, but I did make my first visit to one of our local garden centers the first week of April to get seeds. Two women who walked in after me told the clerk they were coming in simply to look at anything that was in bloom, “…. we NEED to see some flowers,” they said.

They were my kind of people.

I also enjoyed a Saturday with “my kind of people” – fellow gardeners – April 5 at Orleans County Cornell Cooperative Extension where the Master Gardeners held their “Spring into Gardening Education Day.”

The event went from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. – with registration and light refreshments starting at 8:30 a.m. It’s something you might want to put on your radar for next year. I had a fantastic time.

There was a cost involved – $35 pre-registration this year, $30 for seniors. You could also register the day of the event; that cost was $40. You got to choose four different workshops/sessions – two in the morning and two in the afternoon. Some sessions included take-home projects. There was also a catered boxed lunch, door prizes and even a wine tasting.

Sessions offered included Invasive Plants and Insects; Container Gardens and Healthy Edibles (herbs); Effects of Weather on my Garden; Supercalifragilistic Soils; Native Wildlife; Twig Wreath Arrangements; and a Mystery Take Home project which turned out to be garden wind chimes.

This herb container garden has oregano, thyme and flat-leaf parsley. As a precaution, during early spring’s variable temperatures, it’s a prudent idea to bring the herb planting under cover at night.

This herb container garden has oregano, thyme and flat-leaf parsley. As a precaution, during early spring’s variable temperatures, it’s a prudent idea to bring the herb planting under cover at night.

I took the container gardens/healthy edibles session which was given by Jaime Brennan and her mom, Linda Kirby, of Tranquility Herbals and Kirby’s Farm Market in Brockport.

Jaime had very interesting and useful information particularly about medicinal uses for herbs – infusions (such as herbal teas), tinctures, oils and syrups. I typically use my herbs for cooking, so it was great to learn more about the healing properties of herbs. We got to sample herbal teas made by Jaime and then Linda guided us through the process of potting up our own herb container garden. I chose flat-leaf parsley, oregano and thyme. The container looks wonderful and I can’t wait to try out some of the recipes Jaime shared.

Next was the session on the effects of weather on my garden which included information about climate changes and how we can mitigate and adapt our gardens to those changes – building healthier soil, addressing drainage issues and planting trees were all suggested as big helps.

I also took the native wildlife session which covered both attracting wildlife to your garden – sand baths as well as bird baths for our avian friends; and limiting damage when you have too much or unwelcome wildlife in your garden with fencing and netting. Participants discussed the success they’ve had using solid crystals of “predator” urine which can be found at local garden centers and hardware stores.

We then made a wine bottle bird feeder – which proved to be a bit of a challenge – but I’m looking forward to finding a special place for it in my garden.

I’m also looking forward to finding a place for the wind chimes we made with various lengths of 3/4-inch metal pipe which the Master Gardeners had pre-cut for us.

There was ample opportunity during each session to ask questions and the wine tasting at the end of the day was also fun.

It made for a great way to start the 2014 growing season.

I think it’s still too early to make a good assessment of how much damage was done in my garden to perennials and shrubs over the winter. Many of my beds are still a mess, as I didn’t have time to finish clean-up last fall. Once I get things cleared, and plants start to grow, I’ll have a better idea of what survived and what didn’t.

The happy news is that my spring bulbs are coming up – so good to see some new growth with the hope of colorful blooms in the near future. The bearded iris and daylilies are showing signs of life and, best of all, the pussy willow is out. Temperatures are improving and perhaps the growing season can, at long last, begin.