March 18, 2012

Nature's Clock

The forsythia are blooming here in Chicago,  They appeared to pop open overnight.  It's quite possible with these extremely warm temperatures all week.  It has been in the high 70s and it isn't even officially spring yet.  Forsythia shrubs are known for their early bloom and bright yellow splash of color.  The flowers bloom before the leaves appear, making for a showy display. 

Besides being a bright yellow indicator of spring (normally), the forsythia clock is useful for planning other garden tasks. It indicates the soil is at least 55 degrees.  If needed, you should use crabgrass preventor now since the seeds are ready to germinate. Crabgrass must be treated with a pre-emergent in early spring even though the evil weed shows up in summer.

And forsythia blooms mean it is time to prune your roses. Best to forgo fall pruning and do it now while the leaf buds are starting to swell. Don't forget to feed them now too with a rose fertilizer and maybe a shot of seaweed or fish fertilizer.  If you don't have forsythia around you, look for the crocus blooms.

Traditionally, you can plant peas on St. Patrick's Day.  Of course the weather varies year to year.  It was cold this time last year and my peas took awhile to emerge.  But when the daffodils bloom, it is time.  Mine opened this week so the peas went in today.   

Lilac shrubs are supposed to tell time for several tasks depending on their progress.  Plant lettuce when they leaf out, beans when in full bloom, and cucumbers when blooms fade.  I am going to test it out this year. 

These are easier reminders for me than remembering to check a calendar or the seed pack notes. And likely more accurate season to season.  I can be gently reminded daily by Nature herself as I walk my dog or do my gardening.

March 1, 2012

2012 Chicago Flower and Garden Show - And Seed Swap

This year's Chicago Flower and Garden Show at Navy Pier will run from March 10th to the 18th.  The theme is Haute Couture.  There are numerous garden displays, floral arrangement ideas, seminars, workshops, and cooking demonstrations.  Also, there's the marketplace for seeds, plants, tools, and more.

New this year is a seed swap organized by our own Chicago garden blogger, MrBrownThumb.  It's The Great Chicago Seed Swap and will take place on Sunday, March 11, at 3pm.  If you have never been to a seed swap, it is a fun time and educational, too.  You never know what you might find to grow this spring.  Something needed or wanted or just something different! 

Hope to see you there!