It has been a long, snowy winter here in Indiana. The large amounts of snow and extreme cold temperatures prevented me from getting the greenhouse up and going in January as I usually do. I am glad the severe weather hit before the greenhouse was put up. I’m convinced that the amount of snow we received would have destroyed the plastic covering – and even if that had not been the case, there is no way the heater I use would have kept the plants warm enough. On the downside, no greenhouse means I didn’t get most of my seeds sown. It looks like it is going to be a late spring, so maybe this is a blessing.
Today we had a heatwave – upper 50’s and lower 60’s (F). I had ventured outside briefly yesterday but today – with the warm temperatures – I couldn’t resist spending most of the day outside in the garden. The ground is soppy wet in some places and frozen or covered in piles of snow in other places. I don’t remember another spring quite like this one since we have lived here. Typically I would have more than just hellebore and witch hazel (picture above) in bloom by now. Typically I would be planting the early spring vegetable garden. This is not a typical year.
I have concerns. Plants that I have never seen have completely brown leaves now have them. I see lots of stem damage on my roses – yes, even the older ones that have been here since 2004. My herbs are not up yet nor are the flowers on the fruit trees about to burst. In fact, I don’t even see signs of the sweet peas, tulips, hyacinth or daffodils yet. What I do see is a lot of pruning, clearing of dead vegetation that did not happen last fall and tight buds on most of the trees, shrubs and other larger plants. This is a good sign.
Tomorrow they are calling for another 5 to 8 inches of snow – then more cold temperatures before we start the upward climb. What this means is I don’t want to do a lot in the garden today – not only because of the threat of more winter weather but also because of the wet, frozen, snowy ground. There were a few things I could do however and that is what I did.
First I filled my bird feeders with black oil sunflower seed and nijer seed. Then the bird baths were filled with fresh water. Broken bird feeders were removed and set up by the house where they could be dealt with later on. Sometimes I can fix them and sometimes they are just beyond repair. During this time it was great to see birds flying in and out of the various bird houses on the property. Their happy songs were very much a sign of spring and oh so enjoyable.
I removed some larger branches that had fallen into various flower beds, staked a few trees and shrubs that were leaning (ones that were in wet, not frozen ground) and pruned one very overgrown Rose-of-Sharon. I walked around the property carefully inspecting as many plants as I could easily see. I did not walk in the flower beds however. I simply observed from the pathways.
I have a lot of cleanup to do this year – but I am looking forward to spring. I am looking forward to signs of new life – plants emerging from the frozen ground, baby birds learning to fly, bees and butterflies returning to the garden as well as “all things spring.”
Have you looked at your garden yet this year? Where are you on your spring gardening goals?