The slower pace of a cold March

Vintage Garden-y Postcard
Hearty good wishes to everyone. 

Here at May Dreams Gardens, I'm feeling all caught up as we wind down on St. Patrick's Day.

In spite of a high temperature that was probably not quite 40F, I went out to the garden and scratched up a little dirt today so I could sow seeds for peas. I am a traditionalist in my garden. I observe the ritual of pea planting on St. Patrick's Day, rain or shine... or cold.

I'm going to wait another week or so to sow seeds for lettuce, spinach, and radishes.  Normally, I would have planted them all with the peas, but it was chilly and overcast outside, not exactly the kind of weather that makes you want to linger around and dream of summer.

In past years, I would have also potted up violas and pansies to put on the front porch for St. Patrick's Day. I bought some Cool Wave pansies on Saturday but I'm waiting a few days before I pot them up.  In the meantime, they'll be fine up by the brick on the porch, while we endure a few more nights with temperatures well below freezing.

I also cast seeds of violas all around the back yard today, including the traditional Johnny Jump Ups and a variety called 'King Henry'.  I am hoping that they will come up all over the place.  I also threw some chamomile seeds into the mix. Now, some might think that's just insane, especially the chamomile which can become weedy, but I like how the chamomile smells when you cut it with the mower. It smells like a good apple. It's all part of my plan for more flowers in my lawn.

Once I had finished casting seeds about, I  cut the stubs of the switch grass, Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah', down to nubbins in the front yard. I had been looking  at that patch all week after hand cutting it back last Sunday and decided I should go after it with the electric hedge trimmers to cut it back further.  I did that today and checked it off my list.  I still need to cut back  the other grasses in the back yard but fortunately, it's been cold enough that none of them are coming back yet, so there is still time to do it.

Indoors, I finally sowed seeds for several varieties of tomatoes, one variety of peppers, 'Cubanelle', and a few different flowers, including Nicotiana, Bells of Ireland, and Calendula.  I don't rush to plant outside until around mid-May, so there is plenty of time for these seedlings to sprout and grow before then.

I'll admit I still have quite a bit to do before May, but because it has been mostly cold this month, I feel like I have some time. This is a nice change from last March, which was the warmest March around here, at least since they started to keep records of such things. All the plants, and weeds, came up suddenly out of nowhere and there seemed to be no time left to do anything at a normal pace. It was all hurry, hurry, hurry.

I much prefer this slower pace.  Though I have much to do, it feels like I'm all caught up, at least for now, and there will be plenty of time to do all I want to do in the garden this spring.  I know deep down that this feeling is an illusion. By the end of March I'll once again be running about the garden trying to get everything ready for summer. That's more or less a tradition around here, too.

But until that happens, I'm going to enjoy this slower pace of a cold March.


  1. Ah, the slower pace is a sweet pace, I agree, Carol. Not feeling behind, if not exactly caught up makes for a happy life.


  2. Isn't it nice to feel caught up! Of course being gardeners we all know that we are never really caught up because the garden is always changing so there's always something to do...(which I love!) I planted Chamomile last year and it had spread quite a bit however it hasn't flowered for me.....I only have little green mounds. I hope it flowers this year!

  3. In my zone 8 gardens, we are having a very typical March - some wind, some cold, some real warm weather. By the end of March it will be time to get on the ball and be ready for our hot and hopefully humid weather. We still have some drought conditions and higher humidity, though uncomfortable is needed.

  4. I will be following the progress of your flower seeded lawn. I love the smell of chamomile crushed underfoot, even though I don't care for it as a tea.

  5. Carol I think the lingering winter is telling us to slow our pace. I love when my violets and tommies grow in the lawn. Your flowers in the lawn sounds lovely and I look forward to seeing and hearing more about it.

  6. "the slower pace is a sweet pace"

    Couldn't agree more. Since the fact that the garden is always changing so there's always something to do.


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