Spring Garden Planning

Spring 2012

Well… it’s ALMOST here! lol. I don’t know about you, but here in Montana March is an amazing month! Every hour the weather changes and it’s not just a mild change- it’s extreme! One minute we have blizzard conditions and 15 minutes later the sun is shining… 15 minutes later the blizzard is back. We heat with wood so this is an extremely hard time to regulate the heat. Sometimes the stove has little wood in it and we have the doors and windows open and it’s still too warm, and 2 hours later we have layered up and packed the stove to compensate the temperature differences!


But the one thing that doesn’t stop? The planning of Spring planting and ALL the garden ideas for summer!
The one thing I CAN tell you is that no matter how many years experience you have, gardening is always a crap-shoot, and depends just as much on weather, and luck, as it does experience, so don’t ever give up!

So what can you do when it’s almost spring but still winter and you have all your catalogs on the table in front of you?
Get out your paper and pencils, and color crayons ( or colored pencils) and PLAN!
What I do is draw where I want my new gardens…. or the plans I have to change/add to existing beds. Then I color in the colors I want in that area ( marking the heights I would like also)- then I look for the plants that will fill those needs according to my Zone. Do your research when ordering plants! One Nursery may charge you $20 for the same plant you can get from another for $10. A LOT of Nurseries price their plants on Human Ego and how important they see themselves as. Avoid high-class Egocentric nurseries! And make that list long! Sometimes my plant-wish lists are into hundreds of dollars! I list every plant I would love to have then scratch off until I get to what I absolutely can’t live without THIS year!

Also avoid the catalogs that don’t list the botanical name of the plant. If they don’t know ( list) the botanical name- or the Zone- they are plant warehouses that really have no idea what they are selling you or if it will grow in your Zone. They are simply in the business of selling their ‘junk’ to whoever they can get to buy! Remember the ‘tomato tree’ that was guaranteed to grow 15 feet in one season and supply more tomatoes than should be allowed in a season? Well… my friend ordered ( and got the ‘but wait’ special- if you order one we’ll add two more). She got her ‘tomato trees’ in the mail- all three- and they were less than 4 inches tall, spindly, and died within 10 days. DO YOUR RESEARCH- if you buy cheap, you get cheap!..but don’t over pay either.


Spring is also the time to experiment! Plan to sow all those seeds you collected from your own garden last year and where you will plant them when they grow. Take cuttings of the plants you have and plant them when they grow. Experiment with dividing plants and get 4-5 new plants out of 1 you already have. Spring is a time of wonder, planning, experimenting, and ‘growing forward’. DON’T be afraid to try!


I would also like to take this time to thank all of you that have taken advantage of ‘asktheplantlady’. I have enjoyed ALL your emails and will continue to share my love of plants and knowledge whenever I can. As much as I love plants, I love ‘plant people’, and we learn from each other, and sharing.  I do NOT know a great deal about growing vegetables.. although I am learning by my own trial and error. My expertise is in perennials and propagation ( which I am darned good at! lol)

So everyone- let’s get the planning going and get started on this years new and even better gardens and beds!

Thanks so much for your loyalty..