Spring is Here

Although our Charleston winter has been mild, I am still excited to welcome spring.

A walk through my neighborhood and yard, even during my daily travels, you can begin to see the landscape “greening up” and coming to life.  

This a tricky time. Although the calendar will say Spring on March 20, the weather will not be all sunshine and smiles for a few more months. This means planting carefully and even providing protection for any shrubs that you are setting out now.

March’s full moon was the Worm Moon, signaling worms are awake and beginning to move through the soil. This is a good thing.

We know that snow and freezing temps are possible. I use Mother’s Day as my marker of when to plant. Most, if not all, of the frost warnings are over by then, and plants have a good chance of surviving.

In the meantime, there are garden-related activities to prepare for full fledge planting season. I have heard a few lawnmowers in the distance, and I’m not there yet, but soon. I did gather several bags of leaves from the front. I know, I know, should be left in place for insects and small animals. Trust me. I was not that thorough. There are still leaves for shelter.

The soil is wet with the rain and even late snow flurries we are having now. Try not to squish the ground – each step will compact the garden soil and make it much more difficult for you to dig and for plants living underneath to push their way through to the sunlight.

Speaking of tender plants appearing, the deer have this date on their calendars. They will search for young juicy nibbles while you sleep or step away from the house. It is not too early to begin spraying daily with a repellant or covering them with row covers or chicken wire – whatever works in your garden.

At the little house on a big hill, there are several varieties of daffodils blooming. My hellebores and white agapanthus are blooming. A creature of the night ate the tops of my early crocus blooms. It was my fault – not being ready and doing the early maintenance I knew to do.

I’m big on taking pictures to document what is growing. This is handy when you evaluate your garden beds after the blooms have faded.   Oh, say it every year – don’t trim your daffodil leaves. Sure, cut the flowers and fill your inside vases, but after the blooms have finished, resist the temptation to cut them.

These leftover stems are how the bulbs soak up and replenish energy to bloom again next year. I see gardens with stems folded and rubber banded together – no need. That is just too much work. Leave them be, plant some to bloom after them, and hide the faded stems.

Spring is here. Treat yourself to a glass of sweet tea and maybe a few cookies. Don’t forget it can still frost, or even snow, but there’s something about the first day of spring brings hope to the garden.