I’ve always loved books with exchanges of letters, like Two Gardeners: Katharine S. White and Elizabeth Lawrence--A Friendship in Letters and 84, Charing Cross Road, an exchange of letters between the writer Helene Hanff and a British bookseller, Frank Doel. When I found out that Dee from Red Dirt Ramblings and Mary Ann from Idaho Gardener shared a similar interest, we decided to exchange letters about our different vegetable gardens, 1,000’s of miles apart, across three different hardiness zones. We hope you enjoy these letters as we occasionally post them on our blogs, starting today.
Dear Dee and Mary Ann,
Greetings from my garden. Today is a bit overcast and we might get some rain. But yesterday we had the most delightful day in central Indiana. It was overcast, sometimes sunny, slightly breezy, with a high temperature of 76 F. It was as if Someone decided that we were due a beautiful spring day on a Saturday for all the hardship of winter we've just endured, and then flipped a switch to make it so.
I spent most of the afternoon pruning the grapevine back and cutting down all that “winter interest”. Did I tell you I got a new chipper to review? I had a chance to put it through its paces with all those trimmings… more on that later.
Here in my Zone 5 garden, now that the Spring switch has been flipped, there’s a lot to do. I need to inventory all my seed starting supplies later today and then go get what I need to start the tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and all that inside. I try to do that by the 15th of March each year, give or take a few days depending on when the weekends are. Mostly I need Jiffy pots and seed starting mix. I'll reuse the trays I’ve been using for as long as they last.
I’m also on the watch for pansies and violas to show up for sale. There’s a place not too far from me where a young gardener has her own nursery and greenhouse and I like to buy from her as often as I can. She won’t be the cheapest place, but she grows everything with love and care, or buys from other independent growers like her, so they’ll be some of the best. I think I’ll call her later this week and see if she has some ready and then have her hold back a few mixed color flats for me. I might be planting them by next weekend!
I love pansies and violas and had a weak moment while putting in my “oops I forgot to order these” vegetable seed order last week and bought some seeds for some heirloom pansies. It’s far too late to start these here for spring. I knew that when I ordered the seeds, but I could not be stopped. I think I’ll hold them back and try to grow them for fall.
Fall? Let’s not talk about that while it is still very early spring!
There is a billboard near my route home telling people to make sure to have a designated driver for St. Patrick’s Day. Whenever I see it I think, “What? St. Patrick’s Day is a drinking holiday? I thought it was a pea planting holiday?” Well, at least for me it will be a pea planting holiday along with a lettuce, spinach, and onion planting holiday, as long as the soil temperature is above 45 F. If we have more days like yesterday, I'm sure it will be.
Which reminds me, I also need to get some onion sets this week. So much to do now with Spring’s arrival! I can hardly see or think straight when I think about all I need to do, all I want to do, in my garden this year. I have to remind myself to slow down and admire the Crocuses and Irises now blooming.
I hope you all are enjoying the weather in your Zone 7a (Dee) and Zone 6 (Mary Ann) gardens. I’m sure you are further along with your Spring flowers and have your peas already planted, or maybe not? I hope to hear soon, it gives me an idea of what I have to look forward to.
Flowers to all,
Carol, May Dreams Gardens
P.S. I’ve enclosed a picture of Iris danfordiae which started blooming in my garden on the 6th. It’s hardy from Zone 5 – 9, are either of you growing it?