Thursday, March 31, 2011


The calendar says spring is here, but weather in the Pacific Northwest says it is still late winter. March has been cooler and rainier then normal and we are two to three weeks behind  "normal" spring development. But what good does it do to complain about the weather? If we do it with friends, it can make us feel better (misery likes company), but all a gardener can do is accept it and hope for better weather. Nature can teach us things like accepting things we can not change. Once we accept what is, we feel better.  When faced with things we can not change, we have to change. We can not change the weather, but we can change our attitude toward it. So I am trying to practice what I preach and dream of the spring and summer ahead and look forward to evening strolls in the garden, outdoor dinners, garden parties and visiting other people's gardens. I also look at our bare winter garden and think how it could improve and become more beautiful. When the garden is bare, it is a good time to evaluate how the hard scape and structure of the garden work. Now is the time to think of ways to make it more beautiful. After all isn't the pursuit of beauty one of the reasons we garden?  I also cheat and spend a lot of time in the greenhouse!

Things are growing in the greenhouse in spite of the cold cloudy days. The sun is much stronger then in December and if the clouds lighten up a bit, the temperatures can quickly climb into the 80's. There are a number of things in bloom including Aloe dortheae, and Delchampia dioscoreafolia, oranges, lemons, and some bromeliads. The Aloe plicatilis are done blooming as are the avocados. The Bletillas are in bud and so are the olives. Greenhouses are wonderful because they extend the seasons and can give us spring even in the winter. I hear people complain about how they can not afford a greenhouse, yet there are inexpensive alternatives to the expensive conservatory that we see attached to English Manor houses. For less then $2000 one can put up a 20' x 30' greenhouse. Double poly commercial greenhouses are not pretty, but they are heat efficient and cheap. Most nursery supply companies also sell greenhouses. Greenhouses also help people with the winter blues also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD because of the added light and green plants. Then of course you can start all of your own vegetable starts from seed and save a lot of money. Internet seed companies offer an amazing array of gourmet seed selections. I am always in aw when I see a seed germinate and grow into a plant. It is hard to believe that a little tomato seed can grow into a large plant and provide so many vine-ripened tomatoes.