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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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Pop Quiz! (Bet you didn’t see this coming. Hurry! There’s still time to turn to another page! Oops, too late.)


questions

We have a skylight in the bathroom over our Jacuzzi tub with an area around the tub that is quite large. What plants can we grow there, and what care do they need? Can we grow orchids?

What does it take to make a climbing hydrangea flower? Ours was planted 3 years ago and is growing energetically. It’s in a protected nook near the patio and gets very little direct sunlight, but doesn’t act sun starved. We gave it a shot of slow release fertilizer on planting, and once since. Somewhat inadvertently it gets plenty of water, since the hose spigot is nearby and leaks, but drainage does not seem to be the problem. It now fully occupies an 8-foot trellis but shows no interest in flowering. Is it youth, lack of sun, too much or too little fertilizer, bugs, lack of pruning or what? When do these plants bloom and what conditions do they like?

I am going to be planting five dwarf fruit trees; two ‘Bartlett’ pears, one ‘Cresthaven’ peach, and two ‘Honeycrisp’ apples. Could you give me some feedback on them?

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