You Really CAN Have A Gorgeous Garden, No Matter What Color Your Thumb Is!

3/20/17 – The first day of Spring! Wahoo!  Here in the Hudson Valley of NY, we still have about a foot of snow sparkling in the sun…remnants of a winter storm that graced the region with up to 28″ of light, fluffy, easy to shovel snow, and left neighborhood roads piled high with the stuff…tempting me to grab my mittens and snow boots and head out to excavate the roadside tunnels and hideouts I remember from my youth.  Tempting, yes.  Very.  But did I?  No. It’s no fun to play in snow tunnels all by yourself and most of the 50-somethings I know spend their days indoors, at work at real jobs.  They just aren’t too inclined to play in the nuisance stuff – especially after they just spent megabucks to have it plowed out of the way. Sigh.

But the wonderful whiteness is already showing signs of vanishing, and buried deep within the drifts are the daffodils and snow drops and crocus that had already broken out of the winter weary earth, only to put their sunward climb on hold til their snug new blanket of snow recedes a bit more.

So what’s a gardener to do in the meantime?

Well, this is the time of the season that regional garden and flower shows spring up all over, so that’s one inspiring place to go for unique ideas, ‘must have’ have new tools, great design ideas and seminars on so many great topics it’s hard to keep track.  The Capital District Garden and Flower Show at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, NY, is one of my favorites, and the hockey arena turned full out garden exposition hall is always a spectacular treat!

Besides that, it’s not too early to start haunting the garden aisles at Lowes and Home Depot for sacks of summer bulbs and young fruit and rose bushes!  Snatch them up while you can because the most unusual colors and assortments sell out fast.  I was amazed at the selection at the Lowes in Chester, NY, but kind of underwhelmed at the offerings at the Lowes in Albany when I visited last week…but maybe since Albany is a zone behind, their bulb deliveries follow suit?

Now is a great time to start a gardening notebook – you can sketch out new garden beds, make notes on how many hours of sun or shade each will get, research and clip pictures of must have plants from catalogs. Before you know it, the ground will be workable, summer and fall bulbs will need planting and LOTS of gorgeous annuals and perennials will be arriving at local nurseries – looking for forever garden homes.  Every plant has something special to share… a remarkable scent, surprising color, lovely leaves…and memories…plants are perfect ways to immortalize a special occasion.

And finally, who would have expected to find unique garden tools in a department store like Boscov’s? (Boscov’s is a NE chain with quality clothing and housewares, similar to Kohl’s.) There’s a big Boscov’s in Albany and I found a pretty good sized display of garden items strategically placed front and center on my way in the door…including the ‘garden claw’ gloves a friend had just sent a link to, along with lightweight METAL garden hose…guaranteed not to puncture (WAHOO) or kink!

Being a garden hose junkie, I HAD to take a good look at this latest entry into the highly competitive garden hose field…but can I justify the price?  Hmmm. YES!  Yes I can, especially since only one of the four lightweight, expandable garden hoses I purchased over the past couple of summers hasn’t self destructed…I LOVE those shrinking hoses but gosh, they are so NOT sturdy.  But the lightweight metal hoses look like they’ll be perfect replacements!

(Garden Goodies Hint: Take a look at similar metal, no kink hoses here: http://metalgardenhose.com).  I hope there are some left when I stop in again because no, I didn’t snag a few when I had the chance… but if Boscov’s has them, can Lowes or Home Depot or our favorite local nurseries be far behind? I hope not!

So, I’m excited. I hope you are too. New season, new gadgets, new annuals, perennials and bulbs, new tips and time savers and lots of sunny days are coming our way to make this season the best yet!

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D. G. Gaydos

Horsewoman, writer, master gardener, connector.

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