Osmocote Advertisement

Signs of Spring?


So here I am, wandering around with my nose towards the ground, scrounging for signs of spring. I’ve found a few — snowdrops 2 inches high with their white buds clearly visible, a few dark red sprouts that are surely tulips, and teeny red buds on the ‘Jens Munk’ rose, a rugosa hybrid from Canada that sneers at winter and breaks dormancy earlier than anything else around. It’s primed, ready to come roaring out of the gate as soon as it gets a good clear signal. The other roses are still snoring away.

‘Jens Munk’ rose– Photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries

I expect my perennials to stand up like troopers when that time comes, but an e-newsletter today from the Ornamental Growers Association of Northern Illinois reminded me that there may be trouble in River City, mainly on our woody plants. Soon windburn and salt damage will be showing up on yews and other conifers, and there may be frost cracking on some tree trunks as well. (Remember all the sycamores in Evanston that had to be cut down earlier this winter?). On the positive side, the severe cold may have zapped some insects into an early eternal rest. (Bow heads here for a quick word of thanks.)

So even if it still feels like winter, spring is sneaking up on us, and this is nature’s last call for starting seeds indoors. I’ve got leftover ‘Milano’ and ‘Better Boy’ tomato seeds that need to be sown forthwith, along with a little-leaf basil (‘Fino Verde’) and some poblano peppers. It’s still too cold to go outside and sow greens like arugula, lettuce and a mesclun mix, but they’re coming next on the agenda. Just like spring.

categories

popular

Article Thumbnail
Columns
Critter Control

I had just finished an environmental talk to a local gardening group. It was the usual advice. Don’t do an oil change on ...


Article Thumbnail
Blog
Another Good Garden Book for Winter

Does your garden wear the “layered look?” “Garden layers are made up of a variety of plants, some with complementary or ...


Article Thumbnail
Columns
Harvest Schmarvest

Some gardeners are able to make graceful transitions from season to season. In my case, I find that the word “lurch” is ...


Article Thumbnail
Columns
There Is No “I” in Ideas

This, as I have been told by the esteemed staff of Chicagoland Gardening magazine, is the Ideas Issue.


Article Thumbnail
Columns
Beyond Violet

African violets are pushing the envelope when it comes to colors and flower forms. Ruffles, anyone?


questions

I have a hoya houseplant that has been growing happily for eight years. It had flowers when I received it, but it hasn’t bloomed since. What am I doing wrong? Can I get it to flower?

Our Russian sage (Perovskia) is full and bountiful but will not stay upright. Is there anything we can do? Is there a way to split some off when it has outgrown its space? Should it be trimmed back in fall or spring?

Is there an overall rule about when to pinch back my leggy plants?

ChicagolandGardening Advertisement