Archive for ‘Ornamental Grasses’

April 1, 2013

April’s New Beginnings


April is here… April first, April Fools Day, April showers bring May flowers.  April is also the month of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  You may wonder why I would attempt this again this year, especially considering that I only got through the letter “T” last year.  Yes, that thought crossed my mind too, but then I thought, “What the heck, its worth another shot.”  Plus, even though my alphabet only had twenty letters last year, it was still fun so I decided to do it again.

So… for the next month expect to hear from me on an almost daily basis (we get Sundays “off” for good behavior).

Ready?  Here we go.

This morning I flipped the calendar to April and smiled.  We made it.  March is finally over.  I realize that March has 31 days like many other months during the year, but somehow, it manages to feel more like 85 when we’re in it.  While I’m gearing up to get outside in the garden, the clouds keep coming through and making deposits of cold, wet white stuff, stalling all of my plans.

April, however, is a different story.  April brings sunshine, and warmer weather.  April brings about new beginnings and new growth.  Trees and flowers begin budding so fast you can practically see them growing right before your eyes. Grass starts poking through the melting snow.  Seeds start growing and babies are everywhere, especially farm babies.  Baby chicks and piglets and ducklings and calves… And every last one of them are so stinkin’ cute I can hardly stand it.

April is also the beginning of a new gardening season.  I don’t know about you, but in my mind, especially in April, the entire gardening season is perfect.  Somehow I’ve forgotten about the 100 year rainfalls and drought of years gone by and only see sunshine and flourishing abundance.   And I like that about April.

New beginnings.  Fresh starts. Clean slates.

I’m ready, April.  Bring it on!


p.s. If you don’t already have it on your gardening calendar, it’s time to cut back your ornamental grasses too. 😉

April 1, 2012

A is for April

A is for April.  April 1 to be exact.  While others may be joking I bring you a fact.

On April 1 there’s something important to be done, in the garden that is, and it can be quite fun.

So don your gloves, sharpen your shears and protect your fingers or I fear these things we call grasses will have you in tears.

See today is the day or around this day near, that you must cut your grasses, the ornamentals, my dear.

For now is the time that they begin to grow and we must cut them back because these you can’t mow.

Grab some twine and wrap it tight, then with all of your might, take your loppers or your trimmers or your sharpest garden shears and cut them all down to six inches or near.

You must do it now, you must do it soon, for if you don’t, your grasses will look much like a goon.

When you’re done, please don’t waste, that’s good stuff for your compost.  (Or your pathways or your mulch pile or an alternate host.)

So get out there!  Go to it!  Get them cut!  Then relax.  Because this season is just beginning, it’s one of the last times to kick back.



October 22, 2011

Acknowledging the inevitable

Today it finally hit me. It’s over. Summer is over. Fall is here and winter is on its heals.

You’d think I would have figured this out when the colors peaked a few weeks ago, but it was 85 degrees then.  It made it easy to deny the change in seasons.  Honestly, that whole thing, as much as I loved the continued warmth, kind of freaked me out.  It was creepy for a couple of reasons.  Partly because warm winds, shorts and fall color do not go hand-in-hand in Minnesota.  The other reason is that although Doctors couldn’t figure out what exactly I had when I was sick.  The first thing that came to mind when they would ask me when it all started was a memory of a warm windy day back in August of 2009 when I had a reunion with a bunch of my college girl friends and their families.  The same winds blew through then and I remember being chilled.  Granted I didn’t realize I was running a fever until weeks after that, but that windy day in August was what stood out in my mind.  So the warm, windy days a few weeks ago made me incredibly uncomfortable to say the least.  Much as I love a beautiful breeze, I’ve come to really dislike wind. If people could put up hackles, mine were definitely up.  When out in the wind I even envisioned putting up my arms in a defensive position to try to fend off catching something again.

Anyway, as I took one of the dogs for a walk early this morning, I stepped out the door to my favorite weather and my favorite season.  The frost on the leaves, flowers and grasses was stunning as it sparkled in the early morning sunlight. The air was so crisp and so refreshing.  Although the color is past peak a few trees are still hanging onto their leaves and I completely understand why, they’re just too beautiful to let go of.

While I took every ounce of it in as much as I could I still had mixed emotions.  The growing season is over.  Oh, there are still a few raspberries clinging to their canes, shrub roses continuing to bloom and ornamental grasses dancing in the breeze like ladies in ball gowns.

But as a gardener, its with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to another season that flew by way too fast.

So while I love fall and look forward to more crisp morning walks, you won’t catch me rolling out the red carpet for winter.  In fact, you just may see my hackles standing up again. (Hey, I said I was finally acknowledging the inevitable – NOT welcoming the inevitable!)


June 7, 2011

Water, water, water!

We’ve had record-breaking temps in the Twin Cities the past couple of days. This weather is tough.  It literally feels like a blast furnace to us and most of us aren’t outside all day and night.

This is the kind of weather that really tests Darwin’s theory or evolution and truly the strongest (healthiest and most fit) will survive.  Plants and trees have no respite right now, so they really need us.  We all need to do our part to keep our plants and trees well watered right now, not only to keep them moist, but on these really hot days, their roots need cooling too.  Container plants especially need their roots cooled.  Remember a few days ago I was mentioning that it’s great that the soil in containers heats faster than the soil in the ground because you can get a jump-start on seed germination and plant growth?  Well, here we are, less than a week later and I get to remind you that there’s a down side to containers as well.  The soil in containers heats faster than the soil in the ground… On days like today when temps are over 100 degrees the soil temperature in containers is soaring as well.  If your plants look limp, but the soil is still wet, please give your plants a drink anyway.  Just like us, they may not be thirsty so much as just too hot.  The cool water will help cool their roots and get them back to a comfortable temperature, lessening the stress on the plant.

As if these temps alone aren’t enough to torture plants and trees, add dry air and high wind and we’re asking a lot of our green friends.

And now for a little plant biology. 🙂  Much like human perspiration, plants lose water through openings on their leaves in a process called transpiration.  The rate of transpiration (loss of water) is affected by humidity in the air, wind, air temperature and light intensity. The drier the air, the higher the wind, the higher temperature and the more intense the light is will increase the rate of transpiration/loss of water.

So… on hot days, water.  On dry days, water.  On windy days, water. And on hot, dry, windy days… please, please water!