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Spring Has Started!


For the past two weeks I’ve been charging around saying I’m willing to bet real money that when the snow melts, there will be inch-tall snowdrops and crocuses already up and just days away from blooming.

It’s still too early to start collecting my money, but today, the icicle that once cascaded a full 3 feet down from the front porch gutter has vanished, and all that’s left is a steady drip-drip from the melting roof. The front yard garden is still blanketed with 2 feet of snow.

But one plant is already getting ready to break dormancy. As I ambled back from mailing some bills at the corner mailbox, I stopped by the front fence to take a peek at my ‘Jens Munk’ rose, a rugosa hybrid that is one of the Canadian Explorer series, developed at the Morden Research Station in Manitoba. Already this gives you two clues to its hardiness — originating in Canada and part rugosa.

Although my‘Jens Munk’ rose currently looks like a collection of dead brown sticks, in June it will be bedecked with semi-double pink blossoms.(Photo by Ron Capek)

And sure enough, as I bent for a closer look, I spied teeny red buds marching up and down the otherwise dead-looking brown canes. That plant is alive (!!!) I realized, and already it’s charging up for the show ahead. So courage, mes amis. Life is going to get better.

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questions

I keep seeing photos of interesting plants I’d like to grow, but they’re labeled zone 6 and I’m in zone 5. What can I do to successfully overwinter these marginal plants? I’d like to try them, but I don’t want to waste my money.

I dislike staking perennials. Is there anything I can do to avoid it?

I’d like to know the secret to growing a decent-sized pumpkin for jack-o-lanterns for the grandkids and for decorating. My experience in recent years is that they get about as big as a basketball and then begin to rot. What am I doing wrong?

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