Spring has now officially arrived

Published 9:00 am Sunday, March 20, 2016

Last year the crocuses added a bit of color to the gardens during the early spring. - Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Last year the crocuses added a bit of color to the gardens during the early spring. – Carol Hegel Lang/Albert Lea Tribune

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

According to the calendar spring has officially arrived. As I am writing this it is still winter, although we have been having some very warm days with temperatures in the low 60s.  When the weather warms up like this in March I always wait for Mother Nature to show us she is still the boss. It seems like when the basketball tournaments are played, we get another reminder of what Midwest springs are like.

The other day as I walked the gardens I found crocuses and daffodils peeking above the pine bark mulch in the raised beds along the north fence. For so many years when the daffodils have been blooming they have been covered with snow, so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if we truly are having an early spring. This gardener would love it. I am so ready to get in the gardens and do something. With the nice weather, the snow has disappeared from my yard and the mud has appeared.

Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang

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On one of those nice days, I got out my pruners and worked on the weigela bushes that needed trimming along the bottom. I then dead-headed the vanilla strawberry hydrangea in the Victorian garden that also need trimming along the bottom and clipped off the flower heads. It’s such a good feeling to have these small chores finished. In front of our living room I have two strawberry sundae hydrangeas in containers that I moved to the north side of the house last fall so when my husband takes the snow off the roof it wouldn’t damage the bushes. Oh my goodness, they are much more difficult to move with moisture in the containers than when they were dried out last fall. I only got one of them moved so I will need to either wait until the other one dries out some or get the cart and then try to move it.

It will be quite some time before anything gets done in the gardens. I don’t want to walk on the soil and compact it, so I have only been walking on the paths thus far. I really need to pick up branches on the lawn, but I will wait for the soil to dry out. Just seeing the bare soil is so exhilarating. It gives me the promise of things to come. Slowly the earth will warm up and more plants will poke their heads through the soil. One thing that I did find was a bunch of larkspur that self-seeded last fall in the cutting garden. It really surprised me how green they were because I would have thought the cold killed them last fall.

Every morning when I take Roosevelt out before dawn the cardinals are up in the trees singing away, and I love to hear their songs. This morning the crows were making so much racket I wanted to yell at them to quiet down so I could hear the birds. Mourning doves have returned and were sifting through the remnants of seed under the feeders and cooing to each other.  Oh how I love to see so many different birds in the gardens again.

In spring the ephemerals make their appearance and then disappear until the next spring. Bloodroot will bloom for such a short period of time that I watch closely where they are planted so I don’t miss them. The Virginia bluebells will add so much color to the early spring gardens. By the end of June they disappear and you wouldn’t know the garden had been blanketed in those blue beauties. I have always wished that I had hepatica in my gardens so maybe one of these years I will plant a small patch of it. There are so many plants that I would love to have in my gardens, but with only so much space and the fact that they are already jam-packed in them leaves little room for some of those plants I yearn for.

I will enjoy the springtime awakening in my gardens and take photos of each one as if it were the only beauty in the gardens. I then record all of this information in my journals that no one will probably ever read except myself and wonder why I am recording all of this information. Perhaps when I am gone someone will find these journals and read them and wonder about the gardener who wrote it.

“The naked earth is warm with spring, and with green grass and bursting trees leans to the sun’s kiss glorying, and quivers in the sunny breeze.” — Julian Grenfell


Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears weekly. Email her at carolhegellang@gmail.com.