All Things Spring

Happy first day of spring! It’s been so nice to see some of my bulbs that are popping up through the earth– I should have crocus’ tomorrow!

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It’s been really crazy weather in my neck of the woods — 70 degrees one week and 30 degrees in another! I have to admit, I have not done much outside, except for uncovering my pencil hollies I planted behind my garage.

I was actually proud of myself for getting some indoor gardening done this year — like re-potting some plants that have needed it desperately. I also planted some cat grass! For those of you who follow me on Instagram and Twitter, I went to my local garden center a few weeks back, but actually found time to plant the seeds last week. To my great surprise, it is coming up really fast!

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I was so thrilled to see this!

The cat grass was the extent of my indoor gardening this year. Maybe next year I will get some more time to actually start seeds. I have been doing a lot of re-decorating my house along with all things indoor. Moving furniture, buying furniture, just switching things around, makes a HUGE difference!

Yesterday was a cold Saturday morning to go to our local farmer’s market, but the mission was accomplished– I bought pussy willows!

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Now, I was going to dedicate a whole “Consider This” to Pussy Willows, but I chickened out, because though they are beautiful, pussy willow trees have deep root systems, and the roots tend to wreak havoc on underground pipes, tanks, etc. Unless you have LOTS of space, I would not recommend them. There are several different varieties of Pussy Willows, and if you are interested and have an expansive landscape that tends to be more on the wet/boggy side, then I would highly recommend these!

In Buffalo, the day after Easter is celebrated in a big way, called Dyngus Day. This after- Lent celebration includes Pussy willow branches that are used to flirt with the opposite sex by giving that person a gentle “tap”. ¬†Pussy willows in bloom are a sure sign of spring to me!

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Hopefully, the next post will have me doing more stuff outside, and checking out some great new plants that should go in your garden!

 

Dare to Be Different: Unique Blooms for your Garden

Spring is here!! Even though it’s 10 days away, I am loving the warm weather we are getting in my neck of the woods. Winter has never really felt long weather-wise, but I have been a little distracted with other things that have kept me away from really thinking about what I wanted to do for the garden this year.

With beautiful signs like this, you can’t help but get excited for this coming growing season.

 

So, I am now making my list of new plants I would like to get this year. It’s so hard because year after year, you visit the same greenhouse or lawn center and you see the same type of plants every year. How about something a little different?

Do not be afraid to add unusual plants to your landscape. 

Where do I find “different” plants if they are not at my local nursery?

  • Research — read magazines, look at plant catalogs or do some good old fashioned surfing on the internet (it really sounds funny to me to say that).
  • Ask your local nursery. They may direct you towards a place to find them, or they may be able to special order them for you.

What is considered “unique”?

I am not talking about some ultra exotic plant from the jungle, but plants that you don’t see often and bring huge satisfaction and value to your landscape. Here are some plants that I have been looking to plant this year:

  1. Witch Hazel
Hamamelis x intermedia Diane

Source: whiteflowerfarm.com

This is my main plant I would like to purchase this year. It’s a beautiful small tree/shrub that blooms in the winter– yes, that’s right, the winter. This is something you don’t always see a part of your neighbor’s landscape. Consider this beauty to brighten up those long winter days.

2. Ruby Teardrops Spruce

Source: coniferkingdom.com

Ok, I am really loving this beautiful spruce, but I am not sure where it would go in my yard. I really have to rethink the layout of my “spread”, but I am pretty sure this stunning specimen will be worth the extra work. This is definitely for the conifer lover, or some one who just wants to add a little pop next to the other more common conifers you have on your property.

3. Peonies

Paeonia suffruticosa High Noon

Source: whiteflowerfarm.com

I described in a past post that I had planted some peonies in tribute to my grandmother.This is a new variety of peony that would really get people asking some questions. You don’t often see a yellow peony, but this is definitely worth taking into consideration, just to keep people guessing as to what it was!

And finally…what I believe will be the tribute plant to my recently passed grandmother:

4. Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick, also known as Corkscrew Hazel

Source: halesia.nl

Another family member of the hazel family, the contorted branches of this specimen also have some of the most eye-catching blooms on it. Talk about winter interest– the branches on this shrub will make a great talking piece for anybody who passes through your property! Different and beautiful– exactly what my grandmother Joyce was. I don’t think anything else would fit as good!

All of these plants are not cheap– most average around $35 per plant. I understand completely that landscaping does cost a lot of money, and I have written posts in the past about gardening on a budget. Well, as my learning and interest have grown with gardening, I really do believe that plants and shrubs and trees are a tremendous investment for much more than the obvious reasons. It truly is an investment that “grows”. The pure joy and satisfaction I get from investing in a few of these more expensive plants every year are worth much more than a manicure or pedicure to me. As long as you budget and plan for a couple of more pricey plants with your discount finds (trust me, this is where I make my haul every year), it actually ends up evening out.

Gardening on a budget is great, I still buy seeds and the half dead plants at the end of the season. But, sometimes you need to splurge. So, how about passing up that fantastic pair of shoes for a great new tree just one time? You won’t feel so bad when the weather warms up and you see the fruits of your labor.

Happy early spring, and happy plant shopping!