John Zvirovski / Sun Garden Editor
One of my favorite plants in the shade garden just happens to be the hosta. They come in all shades of green, blue, yellow and variegation. They can be dwarf in size only reaching up to 6 to 8 inches in size to over 6 feet across in some of the largest selections! There is a variety of plant types to fit any space within the garden. Their versatility alone is enough to hook me for life!
This week it finally happened, spring decided to show its face. And how quickly things can change from snow to grass!! I love these transitions! Even though we had to wait six full months for this season to arrive, it is emerging with a vengeance! As soon as areas of snow melt, spring bulbs begin to poke through as if they were just as impatient as we have been. Before we know it the grass will begin to green up and we will soon hear the sounds of lawnmowers starting their engines for the first cut.
Easter always seems to be the official gateway to the spring season. But what is going on this year? It seems to be on quite a delay, but maybe that would explain why Easter falls on April Fool’s Day this year. But rest assured, spring will eventually come and when it does, things will move along quickly.
Sometimes it may seem too early to be talking about perennial plants and dividing them, but many can be divided by the end of April. Knowing how quickly this month is already progressing, it won’t be long before that season has arrived. Meanwhile, we just got a good dose of snow in the past week and whenever the wind blows, people tend to exclaim that it is colder than Siberia out! Well, Siberia may be cold, but often that statement is just an exaggeration. However, there is a plant called the Siberian iris that is a very good choice for our cold region.
Trees are often referenced through very descriptive adjectives such as “the mighty oak,” “the majestic redwood,” “the sturdy elm” and “the lofty maples,” to name a few. This week’s column is about the “wispy willow,” or as I like to say, the “graceful willow” with its flowing branches that usually flow from the weeping willow selection.
When we enter shopping malls or indoor office buildings with bright skylights and windows, we oftentimes encounter indoor plants of various sizes. To give height to some of the spaces, we often see a variety of fig trees ranging from 6 to 20 feet tall.
It always amazes me how much of the things around us we tend to take for granted. There are so many products around us that originated in nature if not in the garden. One of the largest products used in our home is a variety of hardwoods used for flooring and cabinetry. Many of the woods that we use in our homes can be grown in our region, which makes them even more appealing. Often we don’t link the connection of beautiful hardwoods and trees themselves.
This is the time of the year to start thinking about what plants you want to grow in the garden and which ones need to be started early inside to be placed outside in May. Peppers take a while to get established. Many hot peppers need a long season to bear ripe produce.
Winter is a good time of year to pay attention to sounds outdoors, as the air is so crisp and clear that some of the slightest noises can be heard. Some nights traffic seems to be on your doorsteps or the sounds of an airplane 35,000 feet above seems so much closer or even the wisping sounds of the ornamental grasses dancing in the breeze. One of the sounds we don’t hear as much of during winter is the sound of the singing birds. Not that they have a lot to sing about being outdoors in the negative temperatures and wind, but they are not quite as verbal.