Start of Spring “Philosophies”
by Don Stuewe
Humorous humor… maybe… These two fronts walk into an isobar… weather humor????
It is near the end of the “winter season”; and for me of going to public libraries or public spaces with big windows facing south. The winter trick of paging through garden books and magazines while absorbing the sun’s rays in a comfortable chair is almost over (also known as the poor man’s southern vacation). You can plan (and adjust, and readjust) what plant is going to be placed in various locations (mentally works… you do not have to physically diagram your plans). Think about the proportion of existing mature plants in relationship to their “neighbors” …also known as the “Scorsese look” (from Hollywood movie director Martin Scorsese’s super bushy eyebrows… you can trim (or divide) to reduce proportion). Decide what bush or tree will block out the line of sight to your neighbor’s windows to make a natural privacy fence. Figuring out plant, bush, and tree layouts to “trick” the perspective of making the optical illusion of your backyard look bigger. This planning takes my mind off of daily concerns – a positive version of “take a trip and never leave the farm”.
Be gentle to your body when getting back into the swing of things. Do not go physically hard the first day. Do increase your physical exertion length of time gradually. There was an article that said as you get older, the initial stiffness-weariness appears mostly in the second day after a lengthy non-active period – not so much in the first day afterwards (something about the aging process). Break up the routine… spring clean-up for a half-hour, then prepare garden beds for half an hour, rotating the use of muscle groups. Mother Nature has a rhythm that can be patient… if you let yourself be patient.
We are still about a week from the last average frost day – April 15. The horticulture universe has dry, gallows humor sometimes – last frost coinciding with taxes due date. There is still time to start seeds in containers… NOTE: If you watch the projected weather forecast for overnight lows, you can leave the seed containers outside. If the overnight temperature is 40 degrees or less, bring seed containers into house (or garage). Leaving the containers with green growth outside also strengthens the stems (the stems will be stronger from the gentle winds). If you are in an experimental mode and a gambler (do not mind a frost failure) – plant the seeds in the ground now in non-prominent location – hedge your freezing temperature bet in case it does not work.
Remember… enjoy the process and learn to tell horticulture jokes for the laughs (more positive karma in the horticulture world).