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Monday, April 23, 2007

Hurry Up Season Has Officially Begun

Peony buds... the first sign of the "hurry up season" for gardeners in Zone 5. Suddenly, it is warm outside and things are starting to move at a remarkedly quick pace. Now is the time to get going, no time to procrastinate. Hurry up Season is here!

We sat around all winter lamenting the cold and lack of gardening activity. We griped through a colder than normal spring slump, and now it is like summer outside. It's time to put in motion all of our plans and dreams for the garden.

When I saw those peonies with buds this evening while mowing the lawn (for the 6th time, but who counts how many times they mow the lawn?) I darn near panicked, there is so much to do in the spring, and never enough time to do it all. Got to make hay while the sun shines. Got to take advantage of daylight and sunshine, for tomorrow it might rain.

Do you want some advice on what you should not procrastinate on in the spring?
  • You should not hestitate to buy the perfect plant or the perfect flat of annuals at the garden center when you first see it. If you wait and see if the next garden center has something better or cheaper, they won't, and when you go back to get what you wanted, it will be gone. Some other gardener will have purchased it.
  • You should pull weeds when they are small. Big weeds fight back when you try to pull them, and they flower and go to seed.
  • You should transplant perennials while they are small, they'll do better in the long run. This evening I checked all the perennials I transplanted yesterday. All looked good, no plants seemed droopy or pouty about being divided and moved.

And how about some advice on some things you should not to do in the spring...

  • Don't buy frost tender plants too early. It seems all warm and summery now, but we could still have some frost. I've personally experienced frost as late as May 20th in my Zone 5 central Indiana garden.
  • Don't look at the garden center if you are just driving by. Keep looking straight ahead. Otherwise, you'll get all crazy and twittery with the idea that when you finally get there, all the good plants will be gone.
  • Don't forget to actually relax and breathe and enjoy the process of gardening. Remember this is supposed to be fun!

Trust me on this advice, I've learned from my own experience. I've passed up on buying plants I later wanted. I've left weeds until I almost needed a chain saw to cut them down. I've planted too early and lost precious tomato seedlings to frost. I've gotten all twittery thinking about people getting to the garden centers before me and taking all the good stuff.

But I think I've always managed to have fun gardening, Why else would I do it all these years, since I was 5 years old? Why else?

15 comments:

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Hmm... something in the first list conflicts with something in the second list... *grin*

I can't believe you have peony buds already, by the way. My peonies are still just 6 inches of red fingers reaching out of the ground!

Jenny said...

I'm just starting out gardening this year, and feeling "hurry up season" starting myself. Reading your blog the past few weeks has been great for keeping my enthusiasm up and helping me learn some of the very large number of things I'm going to need to know. Happy spring!

Carol said...

Blackswamp_Girl... I see what you mean about the conflict. Buy now, I say, then I say wait! See, gardening in the spring can be so contradictory at times.
Jenny... Welcome to gardening! "Hurry Up Season" will be gone before we know, so we have to enjoy it while we can. 'Cause then it gets hot...

Susan said...

Carol — Peonies are one of those plants that Texas gardeners can only dream of. Sometimes I think I would take on months of cold and snow to grow peonies.

— Susan from South of the River

Robin said...

Carol, I'm in that hurry up mode now, I don't like the heat and try to get as much done in the spring as possible. Today I had so much to do, I didn't know where to start. I also went back to the store and bought my favorite color impatiens for fear that I wouldn't find them later. I definitely can identify with your post today.

Carol said...

Susan... Have you ever lived where it gets really cold? Believe me, there are a lot of plants we can't grow up here.
Robin... You are making me all twittery as I have not had time to step foot into a garden center yet. You're buying all my plants, I just know it! :-)

Pam/Digging said...

You've mowed more times than I have already! I guess my new Zoysia lawnette is slow-growing compared to yours. Just as well since I'm using a Pam-powered reel mower.

LostRoses said...

Somebody out there right now is buying the only flat of Verbena bonariensis the garden center got in, and I wanted it! Oh, and you've reminded me I really ought to get rid of the old peony stalks. I know I saw lots of new growth when I was mowing Sunday, but didnt' have time to do anything about it. On the other hand, maybe the new growth will cover up the old stalks....

Alyssa said...

Hi Carol, The garden renovation is fantastic. Can't wait to see it by the end of summer! I agree totally with all you recommend. I've let weeds grow because they looked so "interesting" when young and turned into rampant self-sowers when they got older. Am still pulling them out! Also, sometimes I won't take the route that the garden center is on in fear of the giant magnet that always pulls my car into the lot. Alyssa

Carol said...

Pam/digging... I've always dreamed of using a reel mower, but my lawn is too big for that right now. Someday...
LostRoses... I also have a long list of "really ought to" tasks in my garden!
Alyssa... Garden centers around here have those giant magnets, too! I take a specific route home so I can pass by one small garden center everyday. I've watched it go from snow covered and empty to full of temptations!

Kathy said...

Conflicting garden advice used to really bother me, especially the one about planting in odd numbers when the garden center (or Bluestone Perennials) sells the plants in 6-packs. I have a friend who decorates the outside of her house every year with double-flowered pink impatiens. (I use the word decorate because she is not a gardener; she just likes her house to look pretty.) She follows your advice to buy them when you see them, because she has indeed missed out on the perfect color some years because she waited. However, she usually sees what she wants about a month before they can safely be planted in the ground around here, and she goes nuts babysitting her flats: taking them out every day, bringing them in every night, and watering, watering, watering. Some people will slave for beauty, even if they don't love plants.

Muum said...

great advice all around, it does seem like spring zips by we had snow last week and they are forecasting 80's by the weekend. And I move so slowly!!!!!

OldRoses said...

Got another one for you: the best time to weed is after it rains. You won't have to fight to get them out of the ground and you'll get all the roots, especially important with dandelions. So you know what I was doing after the Nor'Easter last week, right?????

Gary said...

There are a lot of really bored people in this world. If only they could discover gardening.....

By the way, hurry-up season is long gone here in Southeast Texas. We're about to enter too-hot-for-cool-weather-annuals season. It should be here in only a couple of weeks or so.

Carol said...

Kathy... But a six pack divided in half, is an odd number. I hate it when you have to drag flats in and out at night due to cold temperatures!
Muum... Thanks for the comment, it sounds like you never had spring!
OldRoses... And it is raining here now, so I'll be weeding again by the end of the week.
Gary... Fortunately, we have a few more weeks until that next season!

Thanks all for the comments.