The Charmed Garden

From Planning to Planting, and from Harvest to Table.

The Dreaded Spring Freeze

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Just before Easter Sunday some of our Daffodils bloomed.  Our son, Daniel, cut most of them and brought them in the house. He helped plant most of the bulbs over more than a decade ago and he’s picked a bouquet from the first blooms every year since. We still call them Danny’s Daffodils. Most people I know don’t like to pick their blooms because they don’t want their garden to be bare, but I encourage everyone for whom I prepare designs  to plant in large numbers, leaving you plenty for outdoors and in.

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Just 3 days later we had an April Freeze and the few Daffodils that were left are droopy blobs.  So I am really glad Dan brought them in for us to enjoy.

SPRING GARDEN CHORES

The freeze reminded me of a couple of hard learned garden lessons –

  • DO NOT  remove your organic debris (leaves raked on to your beds, perennials that you left up through the winter, last years mulch, etc.) from your beds until any danger of frost has passed.
  • DO Plant early, mid and late spring bulbs so the color show won’t end when a late freeze takes out your early daffodils.
  • DO plant more than you think you’ll need so you have more than you need, giving you plenty to pick.
  •  DO Pay attention to the details. Where you plant your stuff really does natter.  The daffodils that froze are in a beautiful sunny spot that we can see from all our windows in the back of the house, also this makes them unprotected and more vulnerable to a freeze. Pick a few spots in your garden that are more protected from the elements to give you some color in spite of the weather. These little beauties are planted under and a Viburnum and next to the house giving them protection from wind and freeze.

Chionodox, Glory of the Snow,

These little beauties, planted underneath a Virburnum next to the house, are sheltered from temperature extremes. They’re a beautiful punch of spring color when planted in large numbers (mass planting) underneath trees and around bushes.

A LITTLE PLANNING GOES A LONG WAY

Observation is the garden planner’s friend.  Your view of the garden from inside the house matters when the cold and the rain keep you inside. Looking outside your window, where do you see a spot for some spring color? Jot it down, put it in your garden notes – or on the fall calendar in your phone – so that you are reminded what you want and where to put it in the fall when it’s time to plant your bulbs.  The easiest planning is to add bulbs to an existing garden bed. One that is asleep until summer is the best. Adding bulbs will wake it up earlier!

Author: Laurine M. Byrne

I received my certification as a Landscape Designer from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois and I received my horticulture education through classes at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois and through the master gardener program at Univ of Illinois Extension. In my designs, I love mixing veggies and herbs with native perennials and flowering bushes as you can see from the pictures of my own yard. I love creating gardens for people who like to garden, not just installing traditional landscaping, but actually creating gardens that the homeowner connects to personally. I love that my clients who thought they couldn't grow anything now have green thumbs, because all it takes is the right plant in the right site. And I really love that my clients become my friends in the process of creating their gardens.

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