Thoughts on how to create a well-designed garden retreat.

Anticipation of Spring

Today is March 1 and hints of spring abound.  We’ve had 80 degree days followed by 50 degree days here in Durham NC.  Very typical of late winter.  Everyday I walk through my garden and something else has started to bloom.  This morning I counted 17 different varieties of plants blooming.  With temperatures almost to 70 today there will be one or two more to add to the list.  The tree branches that I brought into the house a couple of weeks ago have started blooming in my first attempt at forcing blooms indoors.  Already the Pear and Redbud stems are blooming and the Yoshino Cherry looks to be next.  This is both an exciting and tough time of year for the gardener.  Excitement for the new plants poking their heads up through the ground and those shrubs and tree buds beginning to swell into bloom.  The tough part is waiting.  If your perennial plants still have old foliage above the rosettes, it is a good idea to leave it a little while longer.  This protects the tender young shoots below from the extreme temperature changes.  The obvious is the cold nighttime temperature but the less obvious one is protecting the ground from warming up too quick and initiating growth too soon.  Patience is rewarded here.

For many gardeners, Spring is their favorite time of year.  Mother nature seems to be bursting at the seams bringing forth new life.  It is an exciting time of year but usually a very short time of year.  Many of your spring blooming plants bloom for a week or two and then they are done.  Some of the woodland plants called “Spring Ephemerals” pop up briefly, bloom and then go dormant, not to be seen again until next spring.  One of my favorites is Virginia Bluebells.  Each day this time of year, I am looking for the signs of them popping up through the soil.  A mass of these plants is breathtaking in bloom.  It last so briefly that it is an experience to be treasured.

Many spring flowering bulbs are the same. Crocus, daffodils, narcissus, and hyacinths pop up late winter,  bloom for a couple of weeks and are gone.  Different varieties can be planted to extend the overall bloom season.  I guess Spring happens so quickly that half the fun is the anticipation.


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