John Zvirovski / Sun Garden Editor
It’s time to take inventory of your garden seeds and see what will be needed this year.
Luckily for us and our gardens, we got a week of cooler weather to slow things down a bit. Seems like a great deal of the country is experiencing a very early spring season to date, but that is not always a good thing for all the plant materials that are being tricked into making an early arrival. I always tell people, don’t worry too much about the cycle as plants have a way of resurrecting in the event of a hard frost, storm or damaging wind. They always seem to persevere in any situation because this is just the act of survival.
Crotons are a wonderful plant to use indoors or outdoors. They may sound like something you would want to put on your salad, but they are not the same as the croutons that we do eat on them. Crotons may even look pretty enough to eat, but I wouldn’t put them in your salads as the milky sap from the leaves will have a bitter taste and cause a great deal of irritation. The sap from this plant is one of the many traits belonging to the family of the Euphorbias or cushion spurge that we are more familiar with in our area.
This past week has been a nice respite to the cold we had in December and the beginning of January. Seems the past few decades, we have had a “spring thaw” every month of the winter season, even if it has just been for a few days. This weekend we might actually see another record-high temperature for this time of year. Not that I am complaining, as I always enjoy some nicer weather from time to time to break up the cold. This is also a good time to observe what is going on in your yard so far.
One of the most common types of seeds that are recognized by gardeners and non-gardeners alike is that of pine cones. I think it is one of the earliest seed types that I remember as a child, and I am sure that goes the same for many other people today. I think the size alone is what captures the attention, but they are unique in many ways also. Don’t forget that these seed clusters occur on most evergreen species, and many of those will grow in most parts of the world.
Even though warmer weather has moved in for a while, winter is still here for a few months to come, but it does get us into the mood to think a little spring. This is a good time to think about what we have planned for the year. The garden catalogs are now arriving in the mail and the local outlets are getting their seeds and seed starter kits out. It won’t be long and we will be back out in the yard doing what we enjoy most, getting our hands dirty!
With the return of the cold weather, many of us are trying to figure out ways to stay warm until things moderate again. I don't know about you, but when it is below zero outside, I am trying everything I can to stay warm. It is that time of year when my skin gets very dry and itchy as I have a difficult time drinking enough water to stay hydrated, even though it is very important. I veer more toward hot liquids, such as coffee, hot cider or tea ... OK, and maybe a little hot brandy.
The holidays always bring along with it many wonderful memories and traditions. As adults we think of the shopping, the money and the stress involved with the season, but as children it is a completely different scenario. All of us were kids at one time, and many of us have such good memories of the Christmas season. Many of these great times are reflected upon as adults with the arrival of each holiday. Seems many different things will cause a memory to revive itself in some shape or form and this always gives us a more special meaning during this time of year.
The holiday season has quickly come upon us, and soon we will be scrambling to finish up all of our tasks so we can take a little time to enjoy everything we have planned. Hopefully you are like I am and took advantage of the warm weather when it was here for at least the outdoor decorating tasks. The indoors can always wait for colder weather. Now that it is here, it is time to get cracking!
So far the November weather has been quite mild, and I consider us to be quite lucky to have these amazing days to extend the autumn season. Yes, many of the days have been quite a few degrees above normal, but in our area we deserve the treat for payment for what is to come. With the warmer weather, I also field a great deal of questions from people wondering what this might be doing to the gardens and if it is detrimental to the plants before the winter season.