Opinion: Is it time to garden yet?

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Commentary by Ward Degler

All winter my gardens have sat in the cold, the rain and the snow – waiting for spring and new life. Three weeks ago, Gigi (Garden Girl) came over and cleared out all the dead plants in preparation for Easter.

I thought that would be the signal to launch a new season of gardening. But then, 9 inches of snow plus 3 inches of snow plus 4 inches of rain, along with freezing temperatures, made it pretty clear winter was not yet over.

In addition to new plants for front and back gardens, I have all the potted stuff that has spent the winter struggling to stay alive in my dining room. I need to get them back outside where they can breathe again and shrug off the heaviness of winter.

We had a couple days in the 70s when I thought I could soon put some of the hardier ones outside again. Then, the overnight temps dropped into the 20s, and everything stayed where it was.

I also want to put in a cutting bed on the south side of the house. We get good sun there, and Gigi did a lot of digging and prep work last fall. Actually, the cutting bed has been on the drawing board for two years, but you may remember the past two summers have been thoroughly soaked, rainy seasons.

Hopefully, this summer will be different. I really miss walking past vases of zinnias, daisies, cosmos, snapdragons and violas in every room of the house.

I even have packets of seeds that have been sitting on the shelf for two years. Every time I reached for them, it was raining. They might not be viable anymore, but I will put them in the ground just the same. I owe it to them.

Last weekend, I drove to Missouri to be with my daughter and her family at the 1-year anniversary of my grandson’s death. I figured someone might need a shoulder to lean on.

At the end of the weekend, my daughter put on her jacket (it was cold in Missouri, too) and grabbed a trowel. I had temporarily forgotten that she is a Master Gardener. We toured her gardens, and she sent me to my car with dozens of starts for transplanting. Perennials, mostly, but something for every garden spot at our home.

“Get them in the ground,” she said.

Driving back home I realized that Mother Nature can easily ignore a guy like me when I plead for gardening weather, but I don’t think she stands a chance against a Master Gardener, especially one as strong willed as my daughter.

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