Hooray! It's Spring! My favorite season of the year. The snow has melted, and a little garden clean-up has revealed some emerging bulbs and even some crocus blooming this week. But those of us who have lived in the Midwest all our lives, like me, know that Mother Nature might still have some unwelcome surprises in store for us. Before I get too excited and while I wait for the perennials to start showing some new growth, it's a good time to reflect on the past season and participate in Beth at Plant Postings' seasonal meme, Lessons Learned in the Garden.
I have to admit gardening was pushed to the back of my mind for the last few months, so I'm not sure how much I actually "learned" this past winter. Still there were a few little lessons worth remembering next year:
- I can grow orchids! Well, actually time will tell if they survive through another season.
- Don't bring succulents indoors to over-winter, only to forget about them and leave them in the garage. (Enough said.)
- You can kill air plants. I guess I should have read the instructions on these little freebies I got last summer at the Portland Fling. Apparently, they need air and some weekly water.
- Plan ahead for forcing bulbs. Waiting till mid-January to plant them means they probably won't bloom till the outdoor bulbs are blooming anyway.
Every winter is different. This year we didn't have nearly as much snow as some years, and as a result, I've noticed some heaving of a few plants as I have been cleaning up the garden. Most of the garden was covered with a thick layer of leaves as mulch over the winter, but most of the leaves on my shade garden expansion apparently blew off. I won't know for a few weeks if I lost some plants there, but it's a good reminder to make sure I mulch this area better before next winter.
This may surprise some of you, but I actually kind of like winter. You probably wouldn't have heard me say that last year, but this winter wasn't nearly as bad as 2013-14. Sure, we had some very cold days, but the really cold stretches didn't last too long. And we certainly didn't have as much snow as last year, meaning I could get out most days I had to without facing treacherous roads. The most snow we had all season was on March 1, late enough in the season that I didn't really get tired of it.
|Tulip Display at this year's Chicago Flower and Garden Show. |
Of course, I had to order more tulips for this fall after seeing these:)
Winter gives me more time to relax and complete some indoor projects. I mean, who wants to clean out the basement on a sunny June day?? It's also a good time to look through garden books and magazines and plan that elusive perfect garden for the coming season. A great escape as winter draws to a close is the Chicago Flower and Garden Show held last week at Navy Pier. My friend Beckie and I have attended for several years now and find it a perfect way to get our spring "fix" and find new ideas for our own gardens. (More on this in a later post.)
But the best part about winter is simply this: it makes me appreciate Spring so much more!
I don't think I could live in a climate without the four seasons. Unless you have suffered through endless days of cold and a garden either muddy brown or buried under snow, I'm not sure you could appreciate a scene like this. As the snow melts, it's so exciting to find little surprises like this. And I'm not just talking about the emerging daffodils--Sophie is so excited, too, to find some of her favorite toys that have been buried under the snow all winter:)
The winter has held other secrets, too.
After a dull landscape all winter, tiny blooms are so much more appreciated. An update on my snowdrops, by the way--they have multiplied a little, after all.
Tiny crocuses that would get lost in the riot of colors in late spring and summer are objects of wonder and happiness as they herald the end of winter.
It doesn't take much to make me happy--and a sight like this is one of them.