Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Mom always loved you best."

Do any of you remember that famous line Tommy Smothers used when he got into an on stage argument with his little brother Dick. This time of year I feel that way. Not about my mom or my brother and sister, but about Mother Nature and the gardeners in warmer climate zones. In the mornings, visiting my friend's blogs, I see photos of blooming crocus, daffodils, Lenten roses and sometimes annuals or even flowering trees. Looking out my own window I see snow and mud under a weeping sky the color of pewter.

In the northern states the daytime temperatures are getting into the 40's . The soil which is saturated from the melting snow turns to a quicksand like mire. Rural roads are closed to heavy vehicles because the underlying ground cannot support the weight and the pavement will crumble. When I kept horses here, I would walk behind the barns to fill the hay racks and my boots would be literally sucked from my feet. What a horrible sensation to stumble out of your boot and end up stocking footed in frigid mud two feet deep.

The deep snow is slowly melting from the garden beds.

Have I convinced you all that Mother Nature really does love warm climates best? After battling months of deep snow, treacherous ice, and brutal cold, it is this transition period that is hardest on us northern gardeners. The next month will seem like an eternity. We look with envy at the beautiful photos from southern gardens, we look outside at our own gardens and we think this doesn't seem fair.

The wild flower bed beneath the lilacs.

Yesterday, I walked down the drive looking at my garden. A lot of snow has melted in the last week so about half the garden is now visible. I would have liked to cut down some sedum stalks but didn't dare step off the pavement for fear of churning up mud and compacting the soil. Another month or more before I can start cutting back rose canes, removing dead foliage and thinking about moving plants. A minimum of two months before we dare to put out tender annuals.

Strawberries hidden under an insulating blanket of snow look pretty much the same as they did in November.

I'm hoping Mother Nature will relent a little this year and give us an early spring. It doesn't happen often but occasionally we will get unseasonably warm temperatures in April. Even in years when April seems almost perfect, we must be very careful. Nature has a way of playing cruel tricks in the north. A seventy degree week in late April spurs gardeners to rush their favorite annuals into the gardens. Then in May we get just one or two nights when the temperatures dip into the 20's and annuals and even the flower buds on shrubs are killed.

So back to the Smothers Brothers, I thought they were hilarious back in the 70's. I don't see them often anymore but still get a kick out of their off center humor. It helps to have a sense of humor if you are a northern gardener. If you can't laugh along with Mother Nature, she will surely drive you insane:)

I apologize for the snafu that caused this blog to show up on the blog rolls way ahead of the posting. Operator error:)

Everybody have a great week!