I’ve been browsing the seed catalogs, the websites and books for “what to do this month” in (or about) the garden. I must admit: I’m anxious. Very anxious for Spring to come. But then, you probably already knew that. You know, though, I’m sure not as weary for Springtime as I have been in other years. Maybe so much has been going on that I’ve not noticed that there has been enough rain to completely fill the swimming pool. Or, maybe it’s been so busy around here that I haven’t stopped to notice (and lament) that there have only been a few — a very few — bright sunny days. I guess I’ve noticed.
I came across a number of sites — yes, I got tripped up by the beautiful foodie sites — that are focusing on gardening. Being in zone 8a, it might seem like there’s not much to do outside right now — O, but there is!! It’s time to spray, it’s time to plant, it’s time to mulch, it’s time to prune! And… it’s time to walk around and see the growth of all the lovely Spring bulbs! If for nothing else (but there is soooo much more!!), planting Spring bulbs is a wonderful thing to do in mid Autumn. The sweet surprise of crocuses coming up or in seeing the lovely hope of Spring in the crisp hyacinth or tulip leaves is truly a wonderful blessing! You’ll miss it, though, if you don’t walk around the yard from time to time… or, worse, if you never plant Spring bulbs.
Another wonderful serendipity this time of year is the brilliant beauty of primroses — they actually bloom a few times a year, but somehow the winter blooms are the prettiest and most needed!! In the wintertime, the explosion of colour from a pink or red or yellow primrose is like a bold exclamation point on the canvas — whereas in the summertime, blooming primroses are like a comma or an ellipsis…
Aluminum sulfate… I’ve been asked if it’s true that one can alter the colour of hydrangeas or that the colour depends on the ph level of the soil and: how to make hydrangeas blue? It’s a little more difficult than it might seem — but for blue-blue hydrangeas, you need Aluminum Sulfate (garden store or feed store) and you need to add it long before the blooms are set (so, early spring and in the late fall). Some people put the powder around the base or drip line of the hydrangea plant — but that has a tendency to put too much concentration on specific areas of the plant and might be too shallow. So, if you mix a couple of tablespoons in a gallon of water and pour it around (wet!) soil beneath the hydrangea plant, you should have good success with bluer blooms! Don’t get the aluminum sulfate on the leaves and you can repeat this process every three weeks until you have blooms. Note: I’m finding that all the (used) coffee grounds I dump on some of the hydrangeas are tending to make them pink(!) instead of the Blue that many report achieving after regularly applying coffee grounds. Maybe they’re using fresh grounds instead of used? I sure wouldn’t want to waste the coffee that way! O, and another Note: white hydrangeas (Annabelle or Wedding-gown) will stay white — but I always wonder why anyone would want to change a white one to blue, anyway.
So if you’re looking for some more encouragement, ideas and suggestions for the garden each month, take a look at this site! And, in the meantime, be sure to plan daily outings (even in the rain) to see what’s going on in the garden and to dream about what you’re going to do this year. Have you considered planting a tree? Now’s a great time to do it! Have you thought about planting a garden? Now’s the time to order seeds (ASAP!) and be sure to NOT order or purchase at your garden store GMO or Monsanto et al seeds. Jenn has a long list of reputable seed companies (though, like many of us, she hasn’t updated her list in awhile). It’s a great list here.
Also… when weather permits, do some tidying, weeding (what you do now will greatly help you reduce weeds later!!), and cleaning of tools, porch and walkways.
May you always be blessed.