Week Three 04/12/06
“Lasting change does not happen overnight. Lasting change happens in infinitesimal increments: a day, an hour, a minute, a heartbeat at a time.” (author unknown) In a society that increasingly expects instant everything, this is a quote worth remembering.
During this early spring season we see change in the garden on a daily basis. From the early Snow Drop peaking through the snow a few weeks ago to the buds that are just barely visible this morning on my Virginia Blue Bells, the cycle of spring continues. But are these truly changes? Did not the Snow Drops bloom in March last year? Haven’t the bluebells brightened our Aprils as long as we can remember? So even the changes of spring are not really changes at all. But then again, would we want them to be? I find great comfort in the regularity of spring. So as the leaves begin to open on your favorite tree and the grass grows greener each day, take a moment to reflect on the “non”changes of spring. In the crazy world we live in, it is so nice to know there are certain things we can count on to stay the same.
“Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.”
An e-mail came across my desk this week that I found very timely. It made reference to Psychological Spring, the time of year when the sun is shining brightly outside the windows, and when the first robins are happily feasting on the insects emerging from the cold soils of winter. On these days our phones ring with a regularity and fervor we haven’t heard in months. The excitement in the voices of the callers is an absolute sign that Psychological Spring is here. In an attempt not to deflate this excitement, we try to be gentle as we tell the caller, “It would be a good idea to wait just a bit to plant your impatiens outside,” or, “Yes, we do have gorgeous baskets of geraniums, but they would be much happier staying right where they are for a few more weeks.” The good news about Psychological Spring is that we can know without doubt that it will soon be followed by the real thing. You know what I mean - when you can get in the car to go somewhere, and leave your jacket at home. Depending on the year, that could be next week or next month, but it truly is almost here.
“The nice thing about being senile is you can hide your own eggs.”
This week’s Success Tip for Your Garden – Salad Bowl Add-Ons
A plain old lettuce salad can be pretty boring. For a price, in today’s produce departments, you’ll find bags of mixed greens to add a little extra zing. You can grow these greens yourself right on your sunny porch! Start with 12 to 14 inch shallow containers that have good drainage. Fill them with good quality soil-less potting mix. Mix in a little Osmocote for gradual feeding. Plant seeds of mixed salad greens, variety lettuces, dill, basil, parsley, cilantro or whatever you like best. Be sure to plant closer than you normally would because you’ll be harvesting them on a regular basis. Many of your plants are “cut and come agains”, which means as you remove the young leaves, more will grow later. By planting several containers, you can rotate your harvesting from pot to pot. Water your plants as needed throughout the growing season. As the summer progresses, herbs can be used to replace any plants that have stopped producing.
“Wouldn’t it be nice if whenever we messed up our life, we could press Ctrl Alt Delete and start all over?”
“I heard there is grass seed specially formulated for this area. Do you know what it is?” For full sun or light shade, we strongly suggest planting Madison Parks Mix, which is formulated by Olds Seeds especially for this area. It is a premium mix of Superior Bluegrass, Creeping Red Fescue, and Turf Type Perennial Ryegrass varieties. This mix establishes quickly and develops into a thick, beautiful lawn in one growing season. We have found it to be excellent for starting new lawns or revitalizing existing ones. It tolerates moderate traffic well, grows well in most soil types, withstands heat and drought, and is extremely winter hardy. The seeding rate is 3 – 4 pounds for 1000 sq ft. and germination is 7 – 28 days.
“Can I plant my Easter Lily outside after it finishes flowering?” We have found that people have mixed results with this. Those who have been the most successful have planted them in a protected area, perhaps on the south side of the house. The Easter Lily (Lilium Longiflorum) is the only 100 percent white lily, and is gorgeous in the garden when it blooms. To provide the best chance for survival, choose a protected sunny location with well-drained organic soil. Plant the bulbs deeper than they are in the pot. The final depth should be 2 – 3 times the height of the bulb. Lilies are heavy feeders so fertilize them regularly throughout the growing season. Three to four inches of mulch will help stabilize soil temperatures through the winter and give your lilies a better chance at seeing spring.
“When do you open?” One of the biggest struggles we have is getting the message out that America’s Best Flowers is open all year round. While our hours vary seasonally, we are always here to help with you plant and decorating needs. Right now we are open from 9 until 8 daily, and 9 to 6 on the weekends.
“Can I uncover my perennial beds yet?” By all means! This is an excellent time to cut back and remove last year’s foliage as well as leaves, sticks, etc. This gives the plants a chance to soak up the sun’s warmth which will trigger spring growth.
“Living on Earth can be expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun.”
If these recipes sound good, visit us during our Spring Open House weekend – April 22nd and 23rd for a sample, as well as more take-home recipes.
Italian Herb Bread for Bread Machines
1 ¼ c water
¼ c skim milk powder
1 t salt
1 T granulated sugar
1 T shortening
3 ½ c bread flour
¼ c snipped fresh parsley
1 T fresh basil or 1t dried
1T fresh marjoram or 1t dried
1T fresh thyme or 1t dried
1 t bread machine yeast
Measure ingredients into baking pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Insert pan into the oven chamber. Select basic cycle. Makes 1 ½ lb. loaf. Use leftovers for wonderful croutons.
HERB DIPPING OIL .
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon each fresh herbs: basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme
Dash red pepper flakes, optional
Add more, or less, of any herb, to taste. Wonderful paired with balsamic vinegar
Pour olive oil into small saucepan. Add garlic and herbs. Cook over low heat until garlic is golden. Pour into shallow bowl and surround with French, whole grain or Italian bread. Store leftovers in frig and use within a few days.
“My mind works like lighting. One brilliant flash and it is gone.”
Yardboy’s Plants to Ponder
Magnolias are perhaps one of the most under-used trees in the landscape. These early bloomers provide wonderful color during the spring season, but also offer great looking specimen qualities when planted with room to grow. Two newer varieties, Ann and Jane, are shrubby upright growers, reaching approximately 15 feet, and work very well in any location where screen plants or larger shrubs are needed.