My mind knows that, despite the warm-ish (above freezing) days during the past week, spring in Laramie is still very far away. My mind knows that, and reluctantly accepts it. My heart, however, is just sure spring is near.
It didn’t help that GeekMom had an entry about heirloom seeds today. That set me off. A quick perusal of several linked websites had me salivating. Vegetables, flowers and herbs, oh my! The pictures and descriptions flowed around in my mind in a heady mix of color and potential.
Now, it’s still January. It’s also Laramie, with 7200 feet of altitude. I know that we are in for snow, days and days of below freezing weather, possibly some below zero weather, and a whole lot of just plain cold before spring actually starts sometime around the middle of May. (Yes, it comes late here.) But the idea of brightly colored growing things that smell good won’t let go of me. All I can think about are the starter flats hoarded in my back room, and seeds germinating in the warmth of the sunshine coming in through the windows, ready to be transplanted when frosty days are almost done.
I have some seeds already. (I know they aren’t as good the second year, but I should be able to get enough to germinate for my purposes.) Pansies, petunias, lavender and several other flowering plants will be started as soon as it is feasible.
I want to get a few new plants, too. Some Russian sage – it is beautiful, does nicely with our dry climate and very poor soil, and attracts bees like mad. I will need to get that as plants-already-begun from a nursery, though, because it is apparently a very slow germinator. Two or three of those will be lovely in my front yard. And I want to try borage. I haven’t had that before, but it is a flowering herb that, once again, attracts bees. I like bees – I learned long ago that the little honeybees and big bumblebees generally won’t hurt you unless you hurt them first. (Yes, I learned this the hard way as a very small child. Do not kick the nice bumblebee in the clover with your bare foot. He doesn’t appreciate it.) And we can’t – acutally can’t – do without them to pollinate the crops that feed us.
I am also looking at short-season vegetables like early tomatoes (they go in a huge pot on my back deck) and lettuces of different varieties. Maybe I’ll have some peas this year, too, and one website had some early melons that looked delightful. You have to be careful about growing seasons when your last frost is usually in June and your first one is in September at the latest. Starting plants inside well before the last frost and picking quick producers is a no-brainer where I live.
I have bulbs that come up in all of the flower beds first thing in the spring. Daffodils, mostly, with some tulips and a few other flowers. But mostly daffodils because I love them. The wildflowers start blooming not long after the bulbs put in an appearance; most of my garden is actually given over to wildflowers. They are amazingly hardy and drought-tolerant, both necessities here.
I have a few places where I will put the annuals that I plan to start inside, and a few places I can grow some select veggies.
I also have some areas that I am slowly dedicating to hardy perennials; just a few each year, the varieties dependent on my budget and inclination at the time.
Gardening is an ongoing thing, and plans change and evolve from year to year. A garden grows like a good story, building from one thing to another until you have something beautiful and fulfilling. Unlike a written story, though, it is never done. There is always something to change in a garden, and that just makes it even more intriguing.
Last year, I had a busy March and forgot to start the seeds. Boy, was I mad at myself when June rolled around and I didn’t have bedding plants to set out. I know I can buy them, but it’s more expensive that way, and not nearly as satisfying. This year, though – this year, I will start those seeds and my garden will glow with color.
So I will wait and dream through more than a few additional weeks of cold, snow, and deceptive days that get my hopes up, and plan a bit more, and then I will start my flats of seeds – new life, new potential, in a new year.