Whispers and murmers
pass through the chilled air.
The forsythia bush
lets out her gold hair!
The cheerful songbird`s chirps
once more fill the air,
and at last we may say to each other
“Spring is here!”
Frugal Frau has started seeds in her Aerogarden. It`s made me even more wistful for the start of Spring. I really like Spring, you know. The colors, the flowers, the touch of warmth! Mmmm, Spring. It`s really just too bad we get it so rarely around here! We live in the intersection of about five different fronts, and they all add up to having really wonky weather. I know that, technically, the weather man`s forecast is never a guarantee, but I swear that around here, the opposite of what they say is always what comes true! It`s a bit of a joke, really. Actually, I like to make bets sometimes with people who`ve just moved into the area. (People are always moving in and out of the area.) Never you worry, it`s usually just for a buck. I don`t want to be unfair!
The main point there, of course, is that our seasons are just as unreliable. We`ll go five years in a row where the weather stays firmly between 60 and 120 degrees all year, and then we have years were everything is always cold. It`s really exciting, though, when we get a year that follows the typical pattern of the seasons! I really do love the transitions in weather and nature. But I think the best transition of all is the golden cape of a forsythia bush.
Practical Winter Gardening Ideas
1. Garden planning. Plot out each plant, purchase or acquire each flower, and even plan out your garden chores so you`ll never forget!
2. Force bulbs, using this tutorial from savvy gardener.
3. Dried arrangements. I`m rather partial to dried roses and some blue spruce, but there are lots of possible combinations out there! You can buy dried flowers, as well as silk flowers that look much better than plastic. Ehow has a nice tutorial if you aren`t comfortable figuring the craft out on a whim.
4. Houseplants! I am a particular fan of miniature pomegranates, probably because I love the fruit but can only get it at the grocery store a month or so a year!
5. Really early bulbs, like crocus, forsythia, and daffodils.
There are some more adventurous, and some few more expensive but possibly more fulfilling ways to get your garden groove growing. You can try them out and tell me how it goes :)
Rather Odd Gardening Ideas
1. Greenhouses and cold frames can bring up the temperature a bit, so you can grow spring plants in Winter and tropical plants in Summer. (If you provide the proper amount of moisture, that is.)
2.Terrariums are cool miniature gardens that are held inside of a glass container. The water condenses on the glass and falls back on the plants, so they really don`t need much care at all. Sometimes, however, they will be so happy you`ll have to cut the roots, but that shouldn`t happen even once a year. The link to Bird and Feather`s Etsy store showcases an open terrarium, which may need some watering as it is not a true terrarium.
4. Aquarium gardening– and none of those nasty plastic plants either!
5. Zen gardening, the thing where you rake a bunch of rocks in swirly patterns. It`s methodical, soothing, and pretty; so I think it is close enough to actual gardening. They`ve been selling mini desktop versions since the 80`s, probably because they didn`t have computer and phone games to waste time on back then.
The pain of gardening, for me at least, has never been the work of plant care. It always bothers me that I can not do as I wish, as I don`t have the money to do it all! There are ways to get your fill of plants on a tight budget, though. Seeds, in particular, are always cheaper than buying whole plants, and it can be very satisfying to watch the actual birth or your plants!
Another great trick is to plead on Facebook or Craigslist for either a plant trade or the gift of plants. As my friends know that I love plants, they always get me those cheap $5 grocery store miniature roses, and I have a plot of them that flourishes above and beyond the health of my designer knockout roses!
I think the best option of all, though, is to host a plant exchange party with your friends! This will best work if taken place during the growing seasons, as t is hard to remember which plants you are and aren`t fond of when none of them are before your eyes. It also helps to wait until the plants are out to be sure they will all actually grow this year! Think of how guilty you`d feel if you traded some plants with someone, only to find out come Spring that those plants no longer exist! I`d feel terrible, myself. But if you happen to live in some area that has plants happily growing even now, feel free to host a party right away! It`s never a bad time to have some kind of party. Well, actually there can be some pretty terrible times to host a party, like when everyone in the family has measles, but you get my point!