Dreams of Spring

Eyes can be bigger than a clock when it comes to gardening improvements, and so are the dreams of spring.

If you’ve been keeping up with my gardening stream of consciousness over the past year, you already know that my eyes are bigger than my clock when it comes to what I’d like to see happen in my landscape each year. I add with a little wistfulness that my wishes for my yard also have begun to outweigh my physical stamina.

On the upside, these realizations have me zeroing in on the windows of opportunity to get out in my yard and grow things. Maybe you’re in that boat with me, and that’s okay.

The cold of winter can quite literally become painful. I begrudge no one the right to a warmer climate during an Indiana February. I also have many friends who, like me, face down winters here with the feeling that the bitter weather makes springtime that much sweeter. It is with that attitude that I confess that winter is one of my favorite times for plant shopping.

I’m not a shoe or handbag girl, but if you show me a seed or plant catalog, I’m a goner. I can spend hours salivating over the gorgeous, art-like photography some of these catalogs have begun to offer, and truly, I don’t even want to eat that hosta in the picture. But I can sure long to have it in my shade garden. Does this sound like you?

Of course I sometimes head to the internet when I need to purchase something, but just as I love the feel of a book in my hands, snuggling up in a cozy blanket with a colorful seed catalog can be the epitome of a romantic evening for me.

Over the years, I’ve learned a great deal about seeds and plants and even microclimates from quality catalogs that supply really good, in-depth information. Learning about a plant’s habit forces me to think about my landscape a little harder. I find out about the newest, splashiest specimens, which I consider with the same wary eye I give a new model of car.

Do I want to make that investment the first year, or do I want to wait until someone else – literally – works the bugs out? One of the benefits of online perusal these days is the chance to check out video reviews and a more realistic presentation of plants and their growth. Whether in print or online, a good review can sometimes wind up saving you some hard-earned cash.

Even if you don’t buy from catalogs, by taking the time to leaf/click through them now, you’ve given yourself a big heads-up on what to expect in a few short weeks. Forewarned is forearmed, as my wallet keeps telling me.

Even if you prefer the artistry of a print catalog, the internet gives you the opportunity to learn if you could benefit a local producer/seller by purchasing a plant in person, closer to home, or even by taking a trip to a regional garden or nursery to take a gander at the product.

That sounds like so much fun, I may crack out my calendar while I ogle pages of shrub roses. Remember, those windows of opportunity are right around the corner. Let’s be ready when they open.

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