John Zvirovski / Sun Garden Editor
The last weekend of February is already here and March is upon us next week. Spring feels like it’s just around the corner, especially with the warmer weather we have been experiencing lately. Don’t be surprised if we get a few heavy snows yet in the month to come, but those won’t last long at the rate we are going.
Every time I used to go on vacation in Florida, I would revel in the world of tropical plants and flowers, wishing I could bring them all home with me to plant in the yard when the weather becomes warm enough. It isn’t that I want to have a Florida landscape in North Dakota, but I sure do enjoy the exotic nature of some of the plant types. One of the most common blooming plants that I see in the South is the hibiscus.
The Valentine’s Day holiday is upon us all once again to celebrate the day of lovers. Not just lovers, but the opportunity to show those you love what they mean to you. The holiday came into existence nearly two centuries ago and through the years developed into a day where flowers, cards, chocolates and gifts were given as a symbol of love to those who were close. In today’s world, more expensive things have entered the picture also, such as diamonds, cars and precious metals. Overall, the same old staples still are the preferred choice of the day.
Everyone who knows me also knows that I am not that great with houseplants. I admit it myself quite readily as I never have the best of luck. Of course, I realize that I am not the greatest caretaker of them either, so it is apparent why many of them look the way they do. But every year I bring in plants and try to keep them alive until the spring when I can place most of them outside to get healthy again.
They say that variety is the spice of life. I would have to agree with that comment on so many levels. It is just as important in our interpersonal relationships with others as it is in the realm of our gardens and landscapes. Diversity or variety is a key element in keeping things interesting, healthy and vibrant.
There is something about entering into the month of January that lets me see the light at the end of the winter tunnel. It means that in three months, the snow will be melting and everything will be springing back to life. Actually winter has just begun, and I am trying to make myself feel better since it is a new year.
CUTLINE: A large tree shows the contrast between the black stems of bark with the white frost of the season. by John Zvirovski rrr I always look for the positive things during the winter months, since I usually am always craving the heat of summer. To be honest, as much as I complain about it, there are many nice things to enjoy during the season if you just keep your eyes open. Of course, there are some days that are better than others.
We all remember the story about the ugly duckling that turned into a beautiful swan. And we all figured out later in life that a young swan is a cygnet and not a duckling. The same thing applies to many plants in the natural world. The one that comes to mind during this time of year is the Christmas cactus.
The Thanksgiving holiday has come to pass with the gathering of friends and family. It is the start of the holiday season that creates a certain type of great energy in people that doesn’t seem to be as common during other times of the year. In general (if you stay out of the stores), people seem happier and more content with everything around them. Even winter doesn’t seem so bad until after the first of the year. It is just a jovial time for most.
The autumn temperatures are slowly beginning to cool and those nice 60-degree days are becoming a thing of the past for this year. Soon we will be looking at the 30s for the daytime highs and watch it drop from there until spring arrives. As it becomes colder, the birds in the outdoors and in our gardens begin their search for food so they can survive the season ahead. Our gardens serve as a place of protection and as a place for food. Birds feed on the seed heads of coneflowers and sunflowers, on ornamental grass-seed heads and on crabapples along with the hips of the rose.