March has arrived, gamboling in like a spring lamb, first casting flurries around this morning like confetti, then bringing on a pristine blue sky and sunlight with real heat to it. The cats are shedding more than usual, but the horse has also begun to lose his thick winter coat--there are hairy patches of snow in the pasture where he's getting down to roll whenever possible. And can it be the chickadees have begun to change their song?
Tomorrow, of course, could be a nor-easter howling down at us, but we’ll take this fine day as a promise of things to come.
What would the world look like if we suddenly planted a billion new trees? It would be wonderful if we could drop seeds or seedlings into the ground, and then the next day witness a miracle like the Green Morning of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. “Before [Mr. Benjamin Driscoll] woke again five thousand new trees had climbed upward into the sun.” I have to thank the wonderful garden writer Doug Green for reminding me about the Billion Tree Campaign being encouraged by the United Nations. Doug asked how many trees we as individual gardeners plan to put in this year. I figure I’ll get at least half a dozen in—a mountain ash, an oak for my grandchildren, maybe a couple of maples and I’m not sure what else—plus of course some shrubs. My few trees might not seem like much when balanced against the massive clearcuttings going on. But every tree helps!
A couple of really NICE things to tell you about now. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned Tracey Martin’s new business
Lilies From the Valley ; well her website is up and going full tilt and she’s taking orders for her fine selection of oriental and Asiatic lilies (with some of the new hybrids also available). Tracey sent me a few photos of herself with her lilies, and told me she’s soon going to be qualified as a flower and vegetable judge for garden shows. This girl has a LOT of energy—she’s also president of her local garden club (Mt. Denson), which is a happening group of gardeners, let me tell you! She also does flower arrangements for weddings and other special events, often supplying the flowers from her own garden. She’s got me excited about trying some new lilies in our garden this year, including a couple of orienpets. I put in one orienpet last year—the name since forgotten, naturally!—and was instantly besotted with it when it bloomed. (Note to self—find the photos you took of it, and key it out!).
Back in the fall, a neat little book arrived in the mail for me, with a note from its author. Ron Robertson lives in Truro, and has been growing flowers from seeds for more than twenty years now. His garden is a wonder to behold, and he’s the kind of garden writer we all love—the kind that takes the time to explain things and never, ever talks down to others. He’s put his collected years of seeding wisdom together into the delightful Growing Flowers from Seed in Canada, which you can either order as a hardcopy book from Trafford Publishing or phone (toll free) 1 888 232 4444 (ISBN 1-4120-9406-2) or buy as a downloadable pdf file here. This is a dandy book, and one I’ll recommend wholeheartedly to everyone who’s ever contemplated starting their own seeds—or to those who have tried and succeeded, or tried and been less successful at growing their own transplants. Follow the sage advice of Ron, and your flower garden will be turning heads too, of that I’m sure!