by Charlene Burgi
Spring—it’s my favorite season of the year. It is all about the freshness of new beginnings! Flower seeds lying fallow through the long wet and cold winter burst through the soil to greet us with new creations in the once drab landscape of our gardens.
Daffodils, crocus and freesia, among other spring bulbs, are resurrected nodding their pretty heads in the gentle winds and acknowledging the welcome sunlight. With great anticipation, I closely watched the roses that appeared beyond the living after weathering the brutal, below-zero winter temperatures. My faith waned this month as I eyed the ever-present dead leaves and brown stems. Yet, this morning I spotted new growth working its way through the stems, renewing my hope in their life! Perennials that appeared dead are also showing signs of new green leaves as they emerge from their roots nestled within the deep layers of protective mulch.
Spring also brings the robin—noted as the harbinger. In Lassen, we are treated by the visit of gorgeous evening grosbeaks. Various birds are constructing nests in nearby trees with building materials found around the property. Soon fledging baby birds will find their way to the bird feeders that seem to empty as fast as they are filled.
The warmer weather beckons me outdoors to discover the beautiful wildflowers popping up, or finds me planning and planting new sections of the garden. Bare-root season seduced me with five new blueberry and an equal number of raspberry plants, which are now looking for an ideal spot to call home and protection from the onslaught of hungry rabbits.
Additionally, spring cleaning is on the list this time of year, beginning with the forgotten, unheated garden shed. During the cold winter months, the greenhouse was filled with tools and materials used for gardening, leaving little room for newly seeded plants. To create space, I reorganized the garden shed and potting bench. Tools were oiled, empty pots were stacked and seed starter was mixed. More seeds were unearthed from forgotten containers, then scattered to find new life or filed with others with the promise of soon being planted.
As I looked around while working outside, it became clear it was time to sheet mulch over unwanted weeds that were springing up. If you have never tried it, sheet mulching is simple. The hoard of cardboard squirreled away in the garden shed will soon be put to use by placing it over wetted-down weeds. After covering the weeds with the overlapping cardboard, I will spray more water on top of the cardboard to help make a better connection with the soil below, then finish with a heavy layer of either mulch or composted material.
If planting in the sheet-mulched area is your plan, you can plant directly into the cardboard by cutting holes and backfilling around the rootball with a mixture of site soil and well-rotted compost material. If you are using recycled cardboard from saved boxes, be certain to remove any staples or cellophane as they will not decompose! You can also buy rolls of cardboard at local irrigation supply houses. The dastardly chore of weeding will be met with a grin when you see how simple this task becomes.
Yes, spring is a wonderful time of year. As a friend just wished me: “May your happy thoughts multiply like rabbits.”
Wishing you all a very happy Easter or Passover.
Volunteers Needed for Marin-Friendly Garden Tour May 18
If you enjoy hanging out in a beautiful garden and chatting with fellow gardening enthusiasts, have we got an opportunity for you! We’re looking for volunteers to work morning and afternoon shifts greeting guests at the Marin-Friendly Garden Tour on Saturday, May 18. You’ll receive a t-shirt and small token of our appreciation, and be entered into a drawing to win a Marin-Friendly prize. Volunteer half the day and spend the other half touring inspiring, environmentally friendly gardens! Learn more.