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The Dirt

#20 The Spring Garden

Posted by Erin Autio on Thursday, April 29th, 2021 2:10 pm

Well, we’ve worked through every kind of weather the last few weeks, sometimes even within the span of a few hours!  From 5 degrees one day to 20 the next and then back down again a few days later seems to be a new normal for spring the last few years. So we just put on all the layers in the morning and try to enjoy the rollercoaster ride! On the up side, these contrasting temperatures really do make you appreciate the warmth and the sunshine when they show up.

The past few days have been perfect spring gardening weather. Some warmth and beautiful damp soil to make the weeding easier. The smell of earth and green and spring bulbs flowering. The first weeks back to work we are so excited to get our hands dirty again!

The spring garden is a fresh start, a new beginning, a ‘new leaf’! Who doesn’t love this honeymoon phase!?! Everything is fresh and beautiful and there are discoveries and surprises at every turn. My veggie garden is freshly tilled and weed free. Peas and spinach are in the ground. Things hold so much promise.

I love the untarnished image in my head right in this season. My eyes closed future garden is so perfect. For this moment I set aside the reality of thistles and pests and drought and running out of time in my days….and I drink in the glory of spring!

Here are a few of our favourite early spring show stoppers:

Forsythia- The display of bright golden flowers on the forsythia are one of the earliest signs of spring in the garden. The flowers completely cover the shrub and it looks like sunshine returning to our landscape. These shrubs need full sun to perform their best but will tolerate a bit of shade in our experience. They can get a bit wild if you let them so make sure you have space or can commit to keeping them trimmed!

Daffodils- Another golden, early spring stunner! Plant daffodils if you have tried other bulbs only to have them uprooted by critters. Animals will stay away from daffodils due to toxins in the bulb. Interestingly enough, the bulbs and leaves of this plant also contain galanthamine which is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

Magnolia- These beauties are unmistakable in the landscape. I swear I can remember the first time I saw one in full bloom. We had moved south from the Ottawa Valley and they don’t survive/thrive that far north. I was probably between 11-13 and it was a Saucer Magnolia with beautiful smooth grey bark and branches covered in large, pale pink blooms.  I was completely captivated. If you are looking for a medium sized tree to stop people in their tracks, research the many varieties of magnolia.

Hellebores- One of the earliest blooming perennials that isn’t a bulb. It is shade tolerant and produces a mass of rose shaped flowers in a variety of colours. They look absolutely stunning in an open woodland type of a setting. Also known as Lenten Rose due to the bloom time somewhat coinciding with Lent.

Hyacinth- A early blooming bulb that comes in a wide variety of colours. But the stand out feature here…the scent! Hyacinth boasts an intense fragrance that you notice even at a distance. They are easy to care for, really just plant in fall and then ignore. Plant in a garden by the entrance to your home and they will welcome you every spring with their bright colours and perfume!