Spring forward Plan your dream garden now

By Rick Cozza, The Italian Gardener

Happy March, fellow Boomers! Yes, we have succeeded in getting pretty far into winter with better conditions than in the past few years, with (hopefully) less snow on the ground and temperatures that make you start looking for tulips already. But, global warming or not, we do indeed have March and early April ahead of us, so don’t get too cocky!

Why was I asked to write a gardening column already? Because we gardeners never sit on our laurels, even during the bleak mid-winter. We dream, don’t we?

A dwarf gold cypress tree the way it should look.
A dwarf gold cypress tree the way it should look.

Even now, in late winter, I am preparing four proposals for potential customers for this spring. I will send them out soon, and customers will hopefully look them over and be ready to give the ‘okey-dokey’ early in March. And when April/May temperatures (and soil conditions) look right, we can begin. See? Someone is out there dreaming.

In my own yard, I have several things that need attention in the spring, and I am looking at alternatives now. I have a brand-new dwarf gold cypress that I planted in too much sun last year, and it ended the season with scorched tips. It should look like this photo, but instead, looks like it was held a bit too close to the fire. So I am looking for something to take its place when I move it to a shadier spot in April. I am leaning toward a marvelously-artistic stone cutter’s work that I saw on etsy.com, in which the artist cuts flowers from sandstone. Ratings from existing customers were all 5 out of 5, so I was impressed. But whatever I choose, I need to save my cypress from an ignominious fate.

I am ordering birdhouses for potential jobs this next season, and want to have some good, quality materials available when I need them. Quality is the key. Again, on etsy.com, a California potter named Joy Imai does unique and lovely work, which birds are proud and delighted to rent in folks’ yards, though they may rent for a bit more per month based on the quality of the artist. For all of you, a bleak mid-winter season can pass much faster looking over these wonderfully artistic creations, and mentally placing them in your crabapple tree.

Several things to note as March begins, namely that some robins are still around and have recently cleared nearly all remaining winter berries from trees and shrubs. This bodes well for the rest of our winter, but will send them a bit farther south if we get more snow after I write this article.

Listen for owls this time of year.
Listen for owls this time of year.

If you live in Sylvania (bless our founding fathers and mothers), you are likely near woods or high trees. Spend a bit of time outdoors in the late evening over the next few weeks, and listen for the mating calls of the owls. You may not be invited to the weddings, but the mating calls can be fascinating in early March. Just don’t get picked up for looking like a voyeur out there. The real world just doesn’t understand us gardeners and our strange habits.

So how should you spend the end of winter if you are a gardener? Dream! Plan your spring activities in the backyard. Read “Fine Gardening” magazine. Search coniferkingdom.com for the coolest of dwarf evergreens. Order one for your yard. Do some browsing and shopping on Etsy and other websites for marvelously unique garden ornaments, birdhouses, hummingbird feeders, etc. And, before you know it . . .!