Planting Seeds Soon

Daffodils cheer up the spring garden. Photo (c) Hilda M. Morrill
Daffodils cheer up the spring garden. Photo (c) Hilda M. Morrill

“The weather has finally caught up with the calendar,” as I read in the Boston Globe a couple of days ago. So true! This past weekend I even got to work in the garden without a coat. And, hubby took out the summer furniture from the cellar.

There are so many emerging green shoots and blossoms to admire, especially those of the various daffodils. Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis), blue Siberian Squills (Scilla siberica) and crocuses are popping up everywhere, and the hellebores are putting on quite a show, too. Even the colorful stems and branches of our Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’) delight the eye.

Soon we’ll be sowing some seeds directly in the veggie garden. We sincerely thank Renee Shepherd of Renee’s Garden ( for inviting us to trial some of her wonderful seeds.

Among our choices this year, which may be sown now, are Sweetie Baby Romaine, a container lettuce; and Dutch Darkibor triple-curled kale. Later, around Memorial Day, we will sow Emerite pole filet beans, Astia zucchini and Endeavor pickling cucumbers.

I also want to look into planting some common milkweed seeds. Monarch butterflies only lay their eggs on milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), and their caterpillars only eat milkweed. We are told that the number of migrating monarchs is plummeting, and that’s not a good thing. This year I may try planting the seeds in several large pots. Last time I planted the milkweed seeds in the garden, they did very well but spread into our neighbors’ garden; and though polite and gracious, they did not share my enthusiasm. So, I’m hopeful that my experiment using pots works out.

We’ve recently seen three huge deer in our yard, and our town police department reported a deer being struck by a car on a nearby street. Not a good thing for sure. In past years our hosta plants were decimated by just one deer. I hate to think what three could do. And then there’s the worry about deer ticks. A fence may be the answer? Will have to look into it. I do know that several years ago I saw bars of Irish Spring soap being used at Tower Hill Botanic Garden to keep the deer away.

Other recent visitors to our garden include coyotes, groundhogs and turkeys. The squirrels are ubiquitous and make quite the mess. At least there have been no bear sightings as in other towns!

Indoors, the Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) is re-blooming, just in time for Easter! We’ve also begun to rinse off the winter dust off some of the houseplants, such as the schefflera, golden pothos and crotons. After all, we are told that they improve the air quality of our home all winter, so we better take good care of them. The hairy African violet leaves do not get the water treatment, which would turn them to mush.

Alas, the so-called “professional lawn care companies” are inundating our mailbox with their offers. One even noted on the outside of the envelope that “now is a critical time for your lawn’s health.” What they don’t understand is that we’ve only kept enough lawn to accommodate our grandson’s croquet and badminton games. And, we love the clover that grows there and don’t want to get rid of it. Occasionally, we will rake some compost over our so-called lawn, but that’s about it.

I’ve received several new gardening books to review and will do so in a future update.

I hear that the “Victory Garden’s EdibleFeast” TV show has debuted on PBS. Will have to watch or at least DVR it. The classic video clips will feature Roger Swain in the garden and Marian Morash in the kitchen. Good memories for sure!

By the way, we heard the bells of the first ice cream truck of the season as it passed our home a couple of days ago. It definitely was time to put away the snow shovel! Or, so one would think. I still remember the May “Mother’s Day Blizzard” of many years ago. Keeping my fingers crossed!