Spring 2016 has arrived, yes with snow and frigid temperatures, but here we are , almost the middle of April and we are boldly going forward to embrace this most transient season. I say that it is time to enjoy some colour outdoors! Our most recent rains will pull the green out of the winter-parched grass and brighten our evergreens, so let’s add to that palette, some bright colours close to where our door welcomes us home. It is a simple gesture , but one that makes us happy.
Here at Sun Harvest we always kick off the season with our Bring Your Own container Workshops, and encourage our anxious gardeners to plant something that will tolerate the fickle spring demeanour that Mother Nature portrays in early spring, what with bright , warm days to cold, near zero night time temps, and everything in between.
The most important thing to remember is that everything in the greenhouse needs to be hardened to the temperatures of the outside world. Even our frost tolerant pansies have yet to experience temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius. Yes that does mean after a day of languishing in the freshness of the spring air, a move to a garage , shed will soften the blow of a potential 10-12 degree temperature flux to a tender plant that has been reared in the consistent environment of the greenhouse. You will likely have to repeat this regimen for a few days until the day/ night temp differential is more reasonable ,closer to 5 or 7 degrees. So follow a simple order of things when it comes to introducing plants that can take the cold days / nights of April and early May. Bulbs are first to safely introduce outside, in that they stay fresh and last longer in the coldest temps than anything else, just look to your narcissus that is in full bloom in the garden at home. Next bring out the smiling faces of pansies , and consider what to add to this composition next. I like to consider the edibles at this time of year. Not only are they very practical, but also can take the cold temps, quite willingly. Parsley, kale, swiss chard add texture to a planted arrangement and the nippy temperaures can even deepen their colour as well. Perennials such as heuchera, , dicentra, columbine, and the glorious hellebore are all early shows in the garden, so why not consider these species when it comes to planting a mixed container for early spring. When the heat of summer finally does decide to arrive, you can certainly deconstruct your arrangement to plant these perennials in a more appropriate , shadier spot in the garden. So we welcome our enthusiastic gardeners, let’s get our hands dirty and plant something that makes us feel good and promises many days ahead of enjoying the outdoors!