Punxsutawney Phil predicts an early spring. Hallelujah! (Well, let’s face it, even if he did see his shadow I would have turned by back on the little critter.) I don’t know about you all, but I’m ready for some consistent warm days. The kind of weather where I can keep my front door open and putting on a sweater to head outdoors will suffice to keep me warm; forget the morning ritual of heavy jacket, gloves, hat…
I did a little inspection of my garden in Howardsville this fine day (58 degrees and climbing!) and found some early spring bulbs poking out through the soil: daffodils, hyacinths, crested iris. Their little green tips are for me the first sign that we’ve basically made it through the coldest of the cold. (note: Please don’t blame me if we are slammed with another winter storm before everything’s said and done. I don’t believe in the ‘jinx’.) I’m hoping that pretty soon my creeping phlox will provide that blanket of beautiful periwinkle blue and crisp pink; it’s almost like the ground consists of sweet confection. I am a bit worried about my hellebore. I think by now I should see some buds, but, alas, it looks like the heavy winter snow and sleet this winter crushed the fledgling plant…maybe next year.
The library is a great place to check out gardening materials. Besides some very knowledgeable staff (Zanne and Toots, I’m thinking of your ilk!), we have many books and materials that will help you understand, plan, and keep your garden thriving, no matter the season.
My first suggestion would be to browse at whatever branch is closest to you. 635 is the Dewey number for gardening and within it you will undoubtedly find a book that suits your need. Tending your Garden : A Year-Round Guide to Garden Maintenance by Gordon Hayward is a great start for sustaining your garden during all seasons.
The library has a great DVD series, Rebecca’s Garden, which includes basic gardening techniques, as well as tips on spring, summer, and container gardening. There is an entire DVD devoted to roses, if you’re so inclined.
Interested in vegetable gardening? I say, good luck. A couple of years ago I planted a ton of tomato, zucchini, pepper, and cantaloupe plants. We were awash in fresh veggies until the groundhogs discovered this wealth of sustenance. Since then, I’ve decided that places like farmers’ markets exist for folks like me. But, if you’re interested in such an endeavor, I recommend Walter Reeves’ Guide to Virginia Vegetable Gardening. Mr. Reeves gives great advice on soil preparation, composting, when and how to plant, watering and fertilizing. There are also chapters devoted to herb gardening and growing fruits and nuts. All of this with our Commonwealth in mind.
So, it begins. Spring might not officially occur until March 20th, but I say we follow Punxsutawney Phil’s lead and look to the early spring.