Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Has Not Sprung

No, spring's definitely not close today.  We have a temperature this morning of 21 degrees and had about half an inch of snow last night.  Even for a "love-winter & changing-seasons" kind of person like me, this winter has pushed it's welcome mat once too often.  A year ago I was in the garden cleaning and getting ready to plant.

I've always considered owning a plant nursery one of the most fragile occupations around.  Gardeners know what it's like to be at the mercy of the weather, but, a nursery's whole yearly income is hanging onto seasonal healthiness.

Greenhouses' have fallen under heavy snow, heaters fail during a cold winter night, insect or disease attacked a species, and the even more fragile whim of the American buyer.  This year the beautiful nursery photos posted on internet sites may tempt you to rush out and get something to perk up your lagging garden spirits.  Don't do it unless you have greenhouse conditions at home.

Why you ask?  Sitting plant sets in your garage, window sill or other home location can only mean they aren't cared for optimally and will either get leggy or die.  A "leggy" spring plant will need pinched and it will set it back A LOT.  Professional nurseries have the conditions and care to keep these plant sets perfect - let them care for the plants during this late spring.

If you're concerned some fabulous new plant will be sold out by the time warm weather rolls around, most nurseries will let you reserve plants (with some payment) and they will continue to care for them until you're ready to plant.  They will also do hanging baskets and planters with healthy new plants and by the time you pick them up, they will already be lush.  Hint:  Bring one or more strong teenagers to lift these planters into the back of your pick-up or into your trunk and out again.  You may ask if they'll deliver (for a fee) if you're fresh out of young laborers.

For those of you planting seeds, most need warm soil to germinate.  Left too long in/on cold soil, they  may rot or be destroyed.  There are a few vegetable seeds that may withstand the cold; read before you spend your money.

It's not too early to visit nurseries - most open April 1.  Get ideas and enjoy the wonders of their hard work.  Reserve plants if you want to get going on your purchases.  Here's some local family owned nurseries - all have web sites with addresses and more information:

Nature's Creations, Galva IL:
Spring opening:  April 1
Open House: April 19-20.
Garden Party:  May 3-4

Sunnyfield Nursery & Greenhouse, Galva IL
Spring opening:  April 1
Scents of Spring Celebration:  April 12

Distinctive Gardens, Dixon IL
Spring opening:  Garden center is now open - greenhouse plants as they mature
Springfest:  May 3-4

Hornbaker Nursery, Princton IL
Spring opening:  April 10
Open house and hosta walk:  June 13-14-15

Hoerr Garden Center, Peoria IL
Spring opening:  Garden center is open all year - greenhouse plants as they mature

Red Barn Nursery, Sheffield IL
Spring opening:  April 15

Green View Nursery, Dunlap IL
Spring opening:  Garden center is open all year - greenhouse plants as they mature

Steve's Nursery, Geneseo IL
Spring Opening:  Open all year - trees and shrubs dug as ground permits.

Yes, these are all family owned - some relatively new and others generations ago.  I encourage everyone - every single gardener who reads this blog to shop at locally owned and operated businesses.   You support your neighbors, they reinvest in your community through tax monies and hiring local contractors and employees and they care deeply about their community.

1 comment: