I love spring. It’s so exciting…the snow is melting after a long winter, the birds are returning and singing their wonderful songs, and my inner gardener is itching to get out there and play.
As an avid gardener, I feel the draw. I see the winter debris, and I just want to get it all cleaned up. I also know I have to be patient.
Did you know soil has air pockets? Yes it does! When we walk in the garden too early, these air pockets become damaged. Without getting into a whole science lesson here, soil air pockets allow plant roots to breathe and allow water to drain away from the plant roots during times of heavy rains or melting snow. When roots can’t breathe due to soil compaction (from my big boots), plant roots can fail. Hmmmm… I must be patient.
Grandmother’s advice. The first full moon in June. Yep, my grandmother always said, ‘We can get frost until the first full moon in June’ and she was right. In our area the weather can be all over the place. Snow one day, sun the next, followed by a few days of rain, then snow again. If you’re looking to plant out in April to get some colour, pansies and spring bulbs are the way to go.
Each spring like many gardeners, I start my spring ‘crawl’ through the garden centres hunting the latest and greatest finds. And every April I see folks arriving at the garden centre on the first sunny day looking for plants to install. April isn’t the right time of year to be looking to plant out. The daytime temperatures maybe be warm however the nighttime temperatures can freeze tender new plants.
Last May I really wanted to get ahead of my spring design rush and get a bit of work completed in my home gardens. I selected a few new lovely shrubs I thought would look great in my front flowerbeds. Not one of my best ideas. I planted those poor shrubs out way too early and it took them much longer to get ‘their feet’ under them than it should have. If I had been patient and planted closer to the May long weekend when it was much warmer, my pretty shrubs would have been much more successful and I wouldn’t be replacing some of them this spring. Patience. Just a bit of patience.
Getting out into gardens too early to complete a good spring cleaning isn’t the best decision. Some of the bugs and bees who over-wintered in my garden debris are still dormant, waiting for warmer temperatures to make their appearance. Cleaning out my gardens too early takes away the protective layer of dried leaves and stems, therefore exposing these garden helpers to the elements. Patience is the key to giving this year’s pollinators and predators a fighting chance.
Gardening is the quiet act of patience. A ‘journey’, not a ‘destination’. And like life, gardens ebb and weave, change season to season and month to month, having their own unique personalities.