More signs of spring were noted today. The serviceberries (Amelanchier sp.) are now blooming, joining the flowering pears which are also in full bloom.
I think the serviceberry is a nice substitute for flowering pear. It blooms about the same time, but without that odd, unpleasant smell.
It won't get as big as a flowering pear tree, but offers good fall foliage and berries for the birds to eat. Most often it is grown as a large multi-trunked shrub (or a small multi-trunked tree) but you can find it grown as a single trunked tree, which is what I have in my garden.
Another sign of spring continuing is when everyone gets out their patio furniture, flower pots, and other garden decoration that they stored away for winter.
Last fall, when I posted about putting everything away for the winter, several people commented wondering why we do that. It is a lot of work!
We do it because if we didn't, a lot of "stuff" would be ruined by the winter weather, or at least not last as long. It is not so much that everything gets cold, it is that it gets wet, freezes, then thaws, then freezes and thaws and this process ruins a lot of garden decorations, furniture and especially clay pots.
So we put it all away in the winter, and then bring it out again in the spring once it feels like we won't have any more terrible freezes. Or at least we should.
I feel like at this point we won't have any terrible freezes so I decided that today would be the day to get everything out again, thus making it Setting Up Day here in my garden.
While doing this, I noted some universal truths about this whole process of putting it all away for the winter and then getting it all out and setting up again in the spring. And I thought of a few tips to pass along.
The first universal truth is that if you put it all away 'dirty', it comes back out that way. Whether it is stowed away in the garage or a shed or stacked up in one corner of the patio and covered with a tarp, "as it is put away, so it shall remain when brought out again".
The tip is to clean everything before you put it away. I need to remember that in the fall but somehow I forget it, or it is too cold or there is some other good reason at the time to just put it away "as is".
The second universal truth is that the further you haul something to store it, the more likely it is that it will break in the transporting process. I've broken at least one rather large clay pot when it rolled off the cart I was using to transport it. I still have the broken pieces in the garage because the pieces are really big, like the pot was, so I'm trying to think of something clever or artsy to make with them.
The tip is to store everything as close to where it goes as you can. I store the furniture and clay pots that go on the back patio under a big tarp in a corner of the patio where it is partially sheltered by the house. Everything gets cold, but it doesn't get wet, so it does alright getting through the winter.
The third universal truth is that hose end sprayers will not work in the spring after being stored in the winter. I don't know if it is by design or a material flaw, but it is rare that a hose end sprayer that was working when you put it away, still works in the spring when you get it back out.
The tip is to be very careful trying out hose end sprayers in the spring, as they will likely spray out all over everything when you first turn on the hose. And by everything, I mean you.
Setting Up Day is also a day to test yourself. Do you still have the strength to set out what you put away a mere five or six months agao?
I am happy to report that I was still able to carry the purble bench out to the vegetable garden.
This made me feel very strong.
I'm not finished with all the set up, but got a good start on it today. There is now a place to sit on out on the patio and this bench to sit on in the garden. What more do I need?