Winter’s Shadow

Posted by on Apr 30, 2013 in Garden Thoughts | 0 comments

Winter’s Shadow

30_Apr_2013Dear Friends,

I have developed a routine of when and how I eat my lunch. I start off by putting a Dr. Pepper in the freezer around 12:00 and I have timed the freezing process perfectly so when I retrieve it at 1:15, it is of the perfect slushy consistency. I take the soda from the freezer and then get to work preparing what I will eat for the day. I then peer out the window and take sincere joy from watching all of the winged visitors indulge in all the treats I have provided for them. Each day I see something different and I truly consider these moments among my most blessed moments. Today I watched in fascination at a house finch couple courting. Well, he was courting her by dancing around her, nudging her now and again and generally showing off for his girl. She responded with nudging of her own and seemed to love all the attention. They eventually flew off and I continued to eat in anticipation of seeing the next set of visitors flutter in to the feeders.

This winter has seemed longer than normal. For the last few weeks, we have been blessed by moisture but that moisture arrived in the form of snow bringing with it record low temperatures. This has wreaked havoc in many gardens across the Denver metro area. The Denver Botanic Gardens has reported that the devastation caused by the cold is something not seen by those working there in all their years at the gardens. Yes, it has been cold but it is all cyclic and I personally am grateful that everything in my garden seems to be patiently waiting for a longer spell of warmer temperatures before springing back to life. I have the formation of buds on the aspens, elderberry and willow and from what I can tell these buds are still okay and very soon should burst forth into that unique translucent hue of spring green we all know and love.

wilted_pansyI did make some mistakes though and really I should have known better. We took a trip to Arizona at the end of March and of course spring had arrived there in all its glory. As such, my favorite family owned garden center Rillito Nursery had an amazing selection of plants to choose from. I was not so foolhardy to choose tropical but instead, I bought a couple pansies, a blanket flower and I simply could not resist bringing home an autumn sage otherwise known as Salvia Greggii. My thinking was I would extend the growing season of the pansies for they would have soon perished as the Arizona temperatures began to soar. Further, the blanket flower can handle cold. Well, my philosophies and ideas did not work out too well. First, the pansies – Right now, they are a burned mess in a pot with slight hints of green here and there. I cannot say whether they will come back but I am hopeful. Next, the blanket flower – I kept this in my little plastic greenhouse and when those single digits arrived, the plant suffered. It is now indoors and kept alongside the salvia I brought home and will not be going out again until our last frost date comes and goes. Thankfully, that is the end of April so only a few more days!

time_to_plant_text.fw

The temperatures here have begun to rise and with that the urgency to garden has intensified. Like many who are anxious for the cold weather to end, I have gone out and purchased new plants for the garden to add some instant color. Well, becoming overzealous may have its price for it is due to snow yet again this evening. The moisture is so very welcome but I would love it to fall in the form of rain and I would like to see the temperatures well above freezing. Alas, it is not to be. Tonight it will drop into the 20’s and tomorrow night into the teens. It will remain cooler well into next week and I think at this stage I shall hope and pray that everything trying to make their start in my garden will survive. I will bring in the Parrot’s Beak along with the oregano and thyme I purchased over the weekend. There is no sense in letting them suffer.

Getting back to the purchasing of new plants, I am happy I did not get too crazy. I did buy plants that should survive this cold spell just fine. On Saturday, the 28th, we went to Wilmore Nurseries and here are some images representing most of what I took home:

Ajuga Chocolate Chip

Ajuga Chocolate Chip

Bellis Perennis Pink Flower

Bellis Perennis Pink Flower

Mint Julep

Mint Julep

Primula

Primula

Stardust Rock Jasmine

Stardust Rock Jasmine

Trifolium Dark Dancer

Trifolium Dark Dancer

Zizia aptera -- Heartleaf Alexander

Zizia aptera — Heartleaf Alexander

How will all these plants cope with the drop in temperature? Most are accustomed to the cool weather but with temperatures below 20 degrees, I may be pushing the boundaries of survival. Stay tuned for my next blog post where I will report the effects of this latest cold snap and snow! ?

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