As winter’s last grip of snow and ice slowly melts away, there’s eagerness in us all to get out in the garden and get “something” started. There may be a few cold night distractions or light snow discouragements in our way but spring always happens. Winters like this always welcome the spring in and make it oh so much more worth it. It’s like a kid waiting for cake and ice cream on their birthday, well you’ve got to eat supper first but that cake and ice cream is worth the wait, right? Well we can all get spring started around us. Whether it’s getting a jump on spring projects or maybe just bringing a little of that spring into our homes to warm us up, here are a few things we have been doing around the garden centers to get us all ready and into that spring mode.
Bring spring into your home early this year
Talk about getting a jump on spring itself, if you look in our greenhouses now you can see just that. I mean, we’re loading up with spring flowering bulbs like crocuses, tulips and daffodils. Now these are the bulbs that you usually plant outside in the fall that come up and flower in the spring, not the bulbs we have for sale right now that bloom in the summer. You may see some of these just starting to poke their heads up out of the ground outside right now, but in the greenhouses there just cracking color. What a great way to cheer up those winter blues. Just drop some crocuses on the kitchen windowsill or some tulips on a table as a little reminder that those warmer days of spring are on the way. We’ll often have some early flowering perennials as well, things like Primrose (Primula), English Daisy (Bellis), Bell Flowers (Campanula) and many others will be coloring up the greenhouses now. What a lot of people don’t realize and what I love about these little windows into springs color is that they have such a long shelf life. I mean you can enjoy them indoors now and then many of these guys can be planted outside later in spring and will come back for years in the garden. What a great way to enjoy a little spring color and fill in a few areas around the yard that are lacking color. If you’re looking for something a little simpler, try what I did last week. I saw some bunches of daffodils at our florist for just a couple bucks so I grabbed them and brought them home. Over the last week we watched them slowly crack open into a vase full of beautiful color.
Have a plan for the occasion
While it’s too early for most of us to be working outside, it’s always a good time to start planning for those projects later this spring. Our landscape design services in Winchester and Falmouth actually get quite busy this time of year with people planning their landscape projects for later in the season. By the time they get into May, they’re usually taking appointments for June or July so it’s a good idea to get a jump on this early in the season. Whether it’s a landscape design or just a list of plants you need for your window boxes, it’s never too early to start planning for things you want to accomplish this year. In fact a good list will actually get you in and out of the store quickly so you can get back to doing those things you want to do in the garden.
Just ask the trees
One sure sign of spring coming, for me anyway, is when we start to receive in our trees and shrubs. You see, we try to receive our nursery stock before it starts to break spring growth that way it won’t get damaged by our cold nights. This means it can be planted now or anytime later as well. So early spring is a good time to see our best selections of certain things like Japanese maples, large field grown trees (or balled and burlap trees) and fruit trees. I always tell people this is our best selection of fruit trees right now and availability only goes down throughout the spring and summer. Certain varieties like Asian Pears, Apples, and espaliered trees are always hard to find late in the season. To get the ones we have now, they’re usually ordered 9- 12 months ahead of time. You don’t need to plant these right away, you can simply do what we do, just leave them outside and water them when needed until you’re ready to plant. Anyway, all the trees and shrubs have started rolling in now so were filling up with all kinds of good stuff. Like I said, here comes spring.
Let’s get some veggies going
And let’s not forget all the foodies out there. I know it’s too early to get in the garden and start planting now but if you’re looking for the veggie seeds you can’t find anywhere else, we probably have them. Our seeds and seed starting products are in full swing right now. While most stores buy this stuff to sell out quickly and move on, Mahoney’s does multiple reorders on our seeds and seed starting products to ensure our customers can find what they’re looking for. Keep that in mind when you pass by those displays in other stores that have nothing left to offer. If you’ve never tried bare root veggies or bulbs veggies, you’ve got to try them. What I mean is things like onions, garlic, shallots, rhubarb, potatoes, and asparagus. They can go out super early and things like onions can be tucked into little crevices that you normally wouldn’t plant anything in. Definitely a must try. This weekend I’m going to sow some spinach in pots and get them going outside. And because they’re in pots I can bring them in if I think it’s too cold. I think I’m also going to get some onion sets, I usually plant these in crevices along a wall I have in my garden where you can’t really plant much else, other than some herbs. It usually works out pretty well for me. Anyway, in the next 2-3 weeks we will start receiving some cold crops in 4-inch pots or 6-packs, just in time to start planting.
Watch for what’s going on under the snow
Here are a few things we’re seeing in the lawn and garden maintenance area at this time of year, which are pretty typical given the winter we’ve had. Whenever we have a lot of snow that stays around on the ground during the winter like this year, we see a lot of mole and vole damage the following spring. Moles and Voles love snow. They can get up above ground and dig through the snow instead of the frozen ground and they won’t be seen by predators. So they move around a lot more in search of insects or perennials. We don’t notice this until the snow melts and we see their tunnels. We’ve seen a lot of this happening this year so we came up with a great coupon at www.mahoneysgarden.com. It’s also a good time to get going on the lawn, but don’t be too quick to put down those crabgrass preventers. Remember the crabgrass won’t start growing until May so you have plenty of time to do some over-seeding if you have some bare spots, which apparently a lot of us have because of the snow. Or you could even just feed to strengthen your lawn and put down a crabgrass preventer by itself later. Lots of people tell me in the summer that the crabgrass preventer they used didn’t work but I’m finding a lot of people are putting them down way too early so they wear off by the time the crabgrass starts to grow. Go to www.jonathangreen.com and check out the new American lawn. It has great info for both organic and synthetic lawns.