By Pam Erikson/Special to Langley Advance Times
While there are many beautiful things about winter – the snow-capped mountains, the crispy frost on moss-ladened trees, children playing in the snow, etc. – we, as gardeners are so happy when winter is done and spring starts to emerge.
As I write this, we are in the throes of a late February Arctic outflow wind, making it very difficult to enjoy the walks around the garden. But walk I did, and found lots of lovely things popping up.
The snowdrops are all blooming, the hellebores are starting to open and the Hamamelis (witch hazel trees) are in full bloom.
There is always concern about these late winter blasts, but plants are pretty good at surviving.
A lot of the rhododendrons right now are protecting themselves by rolling their leaves so that they look like cigars. Just their natural way of staying safe.
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Many perennials are already poking their noses through the soil, but they will be fine – they are used to the cold. I always tell people that if they are really concerned about a particular plant, just put an upturned plastic pot over it for a couple of days – good protection from that nasty weather.
And a little leaf mulch cover is always good.
Once we get past this, we are sincerely hoping that spring-like weather will start.
Judging by the number of swollen buds and new growth, it’s not far away.
Garden centres are already getting their stock in place but beware – even if we get a stretch of warmer weather, it is still way too early to put out any annuals. Where we are, in Langley, we don’t plant out the annuals until early May; we have seen too many times a late frost in April that can easily take out those tender babies.
March is a great time for preparing your vegetable gardens though, and starting some things from seed either in the greenhouse or in a sunny window.
Outside, lily bulbs can be planted and lots of perennials that need dividing can be dug up in early March.
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Done early in the season, they will divide easily, get replanted and continue their bloom cycle as though nothing happened.
Next month, we will compile a list of local garden plant sales – always a great source of fun and great finds for gardeners.
– Pam Erikson is owner of Erikson’s Daylily Gardens and Perennials and president of the Langley Garden Club.
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