It may be white and snowy out there, but spring is right around the corner! Growing up the in the florist industry, I was conditioned that as soon as the last Valentine’s arrangement went out the door, we switched gears and started thinking about seeding peppers,
planting up geraniums,
taking cuttings, making sure the furnaces are in working order.
Generators, too! March has the most unstable weather of the year, I swear!
Soon this winter flag for a hydrangea will be snipped away and green, hardy foliage will emerge, tiny buds will push up and new, bright green and creamy white blossoms will replace this tired reminder of last summer.
The butterfly weed seeds which scattered from these perfect pods will germinate in the moist soil and create new food for monarch butterflies.
These scrawny, sorry hanging baskets…….
will bring a smile to the faces of anyone driving down Highway 5 mid-summer (except, of course, those poor guys who take such good care of them!)
Fall planted bulbs will peek out their brave little faces, only to take a hit from winter. The flowers always win, though!
And, of course, spring brings Container workshops and Dirty Dining!
We are also in the process of adding new events, such as a Gallery on the Go painting evening, classes on herbs, succulents and more.
Join us August 7&8 from 5 to 8 pm for dinner at The Prairie Bistro! Full menu including Prime Rib and Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breast while they last! Remember to bring your own adult beverages. Reservations appreciated. 701-756-6441.
What’s your favorite soup? Panini? Salad? It’s time to indulge again!
The Prairie Bistro opens for lunches on Monday, April 13, from 11 am to 1:30 pm Monday through Saturday until the end of June. We’ve got all the old favorites-Grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup, Tuscan Panini, Mandarin Orange Chicken Salad- and are toying with a few new items. And don’t forget dessert!
Well, the calendar says it is spring. And the last ten days felt like spring. Today, not so much. And have you seen the forecast?!? I heard a nasty rumor of 4-8 inches of snow by Wednesday.
But don’t tell the geraniums!
They are doing their level best to grow and thrive. See those tiny little white roots poking through? Sometimes it’s like watching a pot of water come to a boil. You watch and look and look and watch and wait for the first sight of pure white hair-like roots making their way to the edge of the pot. Then, all of a sudden, there they are! And we get so excited! Just like getting to open the first gift at Christmas. Or seeing the first foal hit the ground each year. More little miracles. It’s what this growing stuff is all about.
A few of the liners are blooming. Crazytunia Black Mamba is always one of the first to show off.
And even though winter is going to hang on a bit longer, the geese have been noisily making their way north. They are a sure sign that a few more flakes a snow mean nothing. Spring is really here!
What a difference a week makes in the greenhouse! While the first week in March was so frustrating, mostly due to the weather, the second week felt much more bright and cheery. 🙂
And all the little miracles keep popping up. Remember what these looked like a week ago?
Last week I also worried about whether Mabel would root out. Look at those tiny little roots!
And this Mabel Grey is really anxious to get growing!
She didn’t even lose much foliage. Can’t you smell that wonderful lemon scent? Makes my mouth water just looking at this picture!
We finally got enough liners in to plant up the city hanging baskets. Kinda hard to believe that this….
will be this in a few short months!
I took a quick stroll through the display bed on Sunday. This optimistic daffodil is starting to peek through the mulch. The first break of dormancy always makes me smile!
Snow Angel heuchera is an evergreen perennial, but I’m always excited to see she made it through another winter.
As excited as I am to see these sure signs of spring, I had to pull myself up short and remember that it really is only the middle of March. It is way too early to do clean-up work in the perennial beds. I itch to cut back dead foliage, rake up the debris. As nice as our forecast is, we will still suffer from some pretty cold nights. A severe drop in temperature after perennials think summer is coming can be fatal. More perennials die from a late killing frost than from very cold January! So I am trying to be content with watching and waiting. Sigh.
And we were off to the races this week! And what a week it was. Our first liners (small plants with a root ball the size of a quarter) came on a semi from California Monday morning. There were nearly 10,000 plants on that pallet and all were in beautiful condition. We were so excited to get our hands dirty!
But first they had to wait a day so we could get flats filled with pots and soil.
Jeanie spent Monday getting started with the seeding. First the peppers, some of the herbs, marigolds to put in early planters. One of the heaters in Ruby’s House wasn’t working properly, but one night of cold wouldn’t hurt the freshly seeded trays.
Tuesday brought very cold temperatures. The high was a couple of degrees below zero and the wind howled from the west. Our propane provider loves days like this, as long as he doesn’t have to do any emergency furnace repairs!
Jeanie’s next job was to take cuttings of the few stock plants we keep over. These are from plants that are hard to find (and tolerate our neglect over the winter!). We are careful not to take cuttings from plants which are patented. Most of the cool, new varieties are patented, so if we do propagate them, we need to pay royalties. The nice full tray on the left is our favorite scented geranium, Mabel Gray. She has the best lemon scent and is exceedingly difficult to root out. If there are 45 cuttings, we can probably count on 10 plants. That is why most commercial growers leave her alone.
Most of our geraniums also came in Tuesday. The FedEx truck and our staff had to plow their way through a nasty snow bank to get in and out of the yard.
Wednesday was also bitterly cold. Lori and Cathy and Kaitlin planted up as many hanging baskets as possible, as well as some of the regular pots. Our scheduling is very awkward the first few weeks. It would be nice if everything could be planted as soon as it arrives. But because each variety of plant goes into several different types of containers, and we grow some of all of them in Rosie’s House and the extra go in to Ruby’s House, the planting gets staggered. Top that with the fact that the liners come from about 8 different growers, all shipping at different times, and we sometimes feel like we are herding cats!
So on Wednesday, all my best laid plans were challenged. We are not sure why, but one of our major suppliers (also from the frigid north) decided to ship 3 cases of tender liners ground in minus zero temperatures. In nearly 50 years, we have never received cases of plants that were frozen solid into the center of the box! That threw a monkey wrench into our plans in so many ways. These plants had been ordered in August so availability was an issue. We won’t receive replacements for what is available until the middle of next week. And the smell of frozen plants is nasty!
And today we received a case that had been shipped Next Day Air on Tuesday (also frozen). Did you know that Friday is the day after Tuesday?
On the bright side, Thursday morning we woke up to minus 19 degrees Fahrenheit but it warmed up to 24 above! And today we saw 40 degrees. Spring is coming!
One of the best things about running a greenhouse is witnessing the little miracles in life. This morning there was no sign of life in this tray of dirt. Janie Bright Yellow marigolds are reaching for the stars! This always makes me smile. 🙂