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grow . March Gardening Journal

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We’ve weathered some extremely fun snow days and some typically unpredictable Mississippi weather during the first quarter of 2015, and it’s safe to say that we are very excited about spring weather! I love the seasonal changes, regardless of how random they may be in a given week here, and usually when we have a few really nice sunny days, I get a renewed excitement for cultivating our little garden spaces.

My husband, Mike, was a landscape architect, and through the years before he died, I heard a lot about various plants and learned to enjoy watching their customs, so to speak. In fact, one of the ways I knew I was finally healing after Mike’s death is that I could give an answer to the kids like, “I don’t know what that tree is, but if Daddy were here, he could tell us.” And I could say it without squelching back a tear. I suppose it’s fitting that the evidence of life and growth and seasons changing that are found in the green world also give me good reminders of those evidences in my own seasons.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been getting outside a little more and looking again at what the plants are doing. I decided to record a monthly gardening journal of the outdoor changes happening, our progress in designing and caring for our little plot of land, and the blooms appearing at different times of the year. I’m not a gardener, but I love creating pretty places outside for us to eat, play, paint and even work. So, I’m paying attention, experimenting, and enjoying the process of home- and garden-making. Here are a few of the things I’ve noticed outside this month…

Flowering Quince: They’re so beautiful, and a sure first look at spring. I love these blooms that precede the green leaves on bare branches. We discovered one little branch on the west side of our house several years ago. It’s in an almost hidden spot where only I can see it out my bedroom window. After cleaning around it a bit and some pruning it has been putting on a few more blooms each year. This year, I noticed they had bloomed out when we returned from spring break mid-month.

Vinca Major: This ground cover was here when we bought our house. It has lovely purple blooms in spring and has been blooming for two or three weeks now. Vinca is ever-green, but it really “stands tall” with all the rain and mild temperatures we’ve had in March. The spots of purple are really pretty with our yellow daffodils popping up through the greenery.

Carolina Jasmine: It survived it’s first year climbing a trellis by the mailbox — and didn’t even lose all it’s leaves! The yellow flowers started blooming mid-month. It’s not as filled with blooms as I had hoped, but it’s doing pretty well with no care.

Bradford Pear: We call it “the flower tree” at our house. We came home from spring break to a few buds opening and within a day or so, the tree was completely white. Today, most of the blooms are gone, replaced by full green. The blooms are kind of stinky, but we love the look.

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Knock-out Roses: These have been a real challenge in our front bed, I think mainly because of some poor soil, and maybe the overly prolific vinca. At the end of the fall, I was convinced we would need to pull them out and start again this spring. NOW, they have come out over the last two weeks very full and green with lots of purplish leaves showing where we hope they’ll put on blooms. Get me the rose food! Crossing my fingers!

Grandmother’s Roses: I’m not sure you can kill these. After all, they survived years beside the pasture roads. The cuttings we brought from the farm are now in their second growing season in a big ol’ plastic pot. They never lost all their leaves and died back even in some pretty cold snow days, and this month they’ve come out very full. Right now they are at the corner of our little storage house porch. I want to keep them there, but put them in the ground and set up a metal trellis to let them climb.

Tulips: Well, I think they did their tulip thing! No foliage or blooms this year 🙁 BUT, neither did the other bulbs that were planted with them in front of the little house porch. So, I’m holding out hope that our last freezing snow days came at a time to squelch their blooms. We’ll see next year.

Hydrangeas: We see green!

Lavender: I saw it at the garden center last year, and decided I wanted to use it for a border around our front bed. The variety I chose has a silvery gray-green leaf and of course, the typical sweet-smelling purple blooms. We had a huge learning curve with it, and finally settled on a row of pea gravel to plant in since it needs very well-drained soil. Only one plant survived this year, but I’m now seeing new growth on it. I’m planning to replace plants and finishing out the border. I really want this to work, so I’ll keep you posted.

Black eyed Susans: We see green!

Redbuds: Beautiful blooming out late this month.

Wisteria: I’m noticing a few more pods than last year, and just yesterday, they started to open out!

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I hope to share more progress on the garden as a possible monthly post. Meanwhile, we’re planning an outdoor “hot dog party” complete with s’mores on the fire pit if the weather’s right this weekend.

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