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8/4 Sherry Harris, A Time to Swill

8/11 Authors of The Fish That Got Away

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Guest Bloggers

8/21 Nancy Nau Sullivan

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

March Means Spring

Today spring begins. Oh, not officially, of course. That's on the calendar for March 20th with the spring equinox. But in my mind, spring is March, April and May, and I'm sticking with that even if snow is on the ground. Besides all the signs are there; spring birds are returning so there's far more activity at my feeders, hibernating mammals are waking up, daffodils, hyacinths and tulips are coming up, and the little grass-like leaves of spring beauties are peeking out of the leaf cover in the woods. The snowdrops are already blooming as is the 'Lenten Rose' hellebores. And if that's not enough to prove spring is here, I've been spotting sap buckets on maple trees for several weeks.

For now, though, I'm relying on house plants like blooming orchids and primroses to tide me over until I can actually get out and start gardening. That and the garden catalogs that have been coming since last fall. The pile has grown, but not until I feel the sap of spring rising inside me do I start to make lists; lists that are always far more extensive than my finances can afford so I end up crossing off some things. For me those catalogs are like the Christmas catalogs my family used to receive that always became tattered and dog-eared long before Christmas.

One of my favorite seed catalogs is Pinetree Garden Seeds. They offer not only a wide variety of seeds, but also roots, bulbs, rhizomes and plants as well as a good selection of books and gardening products at reasonable prices. The seed packets have smaller quantities, too, so I can order many different kinds of lettuces, for instance.

Another favorite catalog is Vermont Bean Seed Company. Although they offer vegetables and flowers, too, it's their large selection of beans (117 varieties) that intrigues me. I'm fascinated by names like 'Bountiful,' 'Molly,' 'Matador,' 'Cherokee,' 'Rattlesnake,' 'Dragon Tongue,' 'Christmas,' 'Vermont Cranberry,' 'Tongues of Fire,' 'Bumble Bee,' 'Calypso,' and 'Yin Yang' to name a few. A favorite I order every year is 'Purple Trionfo Violetto.' It's a pole bean so I plant it either on a trellis or against the wire fences bordering my garden. It has lovely lavender blooms and the beans are purple. Gorgeous. When cooked, they turn into a luscious green bean. Is it any wonder that some years my vegetable garden is overrun with beans?

I also order a lot of flower seeds, not only for my vegetable garden, but throughout my other gardens, too. I plant different varieties of sunflower seeds for the birds and their color, and many other different annuals for making bouquets in the latter part of summer and fall when few perennials are blooming.

I'm dreaming of a better year than I had last year. Not only did I have to be away too often, once for an extended time, but we had record breaking rain making it difficult to get the garden ready for planting and hard to weed once the plants were up. That wsn't my only problem, either. I had groundhogs that considered my vegetable garden their personal gourmet restaurant. They decimated the peas, lettuce, beets, broccoli and beans, and they nibbled off the tops of the pepper plants. All I was able to harvest last year were tomatoes, and even those weren't as good because of the excessive rain and lack of sun.

But this year I'm going to have a wonderful garden. The sun will shine, and there will only be enough rain to water the plants. The greedy groundhogs will disappear, or at least I'll find a way to thwart them. I'm going to be feasting on home grown vegetables with lots left over to share and freeze, too.

What are your dreams and plans for this spring and summer?


Warren Bull said...

It's been a warm winter but I started spring in New Zealand and did not get to see it through. I would like a long lazy spring that eases into a gentle summer this year. Hemisphere hopping has chopped off the seasons for me this past year.

Gloria Alden said...

That must be a different feeling. New Zealand is I place I've always wanted to visit, but from this side of the U.S. it would be an incredibly long trip.

I would like the same kind of spring and summer, but already we're being inundated with rain. Hope it stops soon.

Kara Cerise said...

Spring is such a hopeful season! I love when flowers pop up and add color to the rather bleak winter landscape.

Gloria Alden said...

I do, too. It's so exciting to see each new bloom.

E. B. Davis said...

Since my daughter came home on Spring break yesterday (and got me busy, her visit surely signifies that spring is here.

Where I live, outside of DC, I've seen two pussy willows,daffodils and crocuses blooming. Our robins don't leave the city anymore. It's just too warm.

I can't help but wonder if in two weeks we'll get a blizzard. I sure hope not.