Spring is a wonderful time for roses

July 2011 Garden pictures 014

Roses are a favorite of mine, especially the old fashioned shrub roses.  The one pictured here is from my own garden and is called Echo (Baby Tausendschon) and it’s petite and lovely.  I have it planted outside the front window, so I can enjoy it from inside or out.

Roses are the main stay of every cottage garden and look at home with lavender, peonies, daisies and other cottage flowers.   I enjoy choosing roses based on their color, fragrance, hardiness and history.  It’s such fun to know something about the history of an alba or gallica  rose and the damasks are one of my favorites.  All of these do well in our zone 4 to zone 5 winters, especially if they’re planted close to the house and out of the wind.  As the big box stores start bringing in their nursery plants, it gets more and more difficult not to bring a lovely, fragrant rose home.

Spring quarter starts the first of April and I’m happy to say I not only survived my first quarter of school, but I actually got A’s and B’s in all my classes!  The online courses have been a success, so I’ve decided to stay with them for now and concentrate on business courses the next few quarters.  I can garden all summer and the business courses will be very helpful in running my own business in the near future.   In the fall and winter, there will be landscape design courses and I’m looking forward to taking those, too.  With luck, I’ll be starting my own business this time next year, but for now I’m learning all I can and plan to visit nurseries this spring and start building contacts.  I also have more Master Gardener classes coming up this spring, so I’ll be trying out many new ideas in my own garden.

There’s something magical about early spring

Daffodils by farmhouse 004Even with the snow still on the ground, there’s a feeling of spring in the air.  The sun seems a bit warmer and the ground is softer, as you walk across the yard.  Small buds can be seen on some of the fruit trees and the days are definitely getting longer.  A few small clumps of violets start to show a bit of purple and daffodils poke up through patches of snow.

Spring is a welcome sign after such a long winter, but especially for a gardener.  After sketching plans for months, it’s finally time to start walking through the garden to see where that new bed might fit or what rose will look good, in the corner by the shed.  It’s still too early to dig up soil or even think about buying plants.  Much too early.  Except for those four small shrubs I bought a few days ago, on clearance.  Who puts out plants that early anyway?  Now they’re sitting in my car at night, so they won’t freeze.  Yes, my car has become a temporary greenhouse for two blue carpet junipers and two Korean lilacs.

School is getting better.  I’ve made peace with my online classes and their challenges.  Now I drive out to the school computer lab to take my tests.  I only wish my Accounting and Excel professors could coordinate their weekly test dates, so I could take them on the same day.  And did I mention that on one of these days, the computer labs close at 4 pm?  Not easy for a working gal.

Despite all the distractions, I really enjoy going back to school.  This quarter is more about running a small business, but in six weeks the gardening classes begin.  I don’t know if people realize how much we gardeners love to learn, think about, plan and talk to each other, about our gardens.  The idea of being in a room full of people, who all like to garden, well it has a definite appeal.

Since Monday is a holiday, one of the local universities is having a garden symposium and I was lucky enough to get invited.  Well, technically, I kind of invited myself, since my email seems to have gotten lost in their computer.  But,  they were very gracious and said there was still room for a few more, so I’m taking my mom.  She is my gardening guru and instilled in my at an early age, the importance of organic gardening.  So the fact that two classes are for organic gardening and two others for companion planting is very appropriate.  Did I mention that there is also a class just on roses and what herbs and other flowers to plant with them?  Now, that’s exciting.  At least to a gardener.

Snow falls almost every day

006It’s been snowing for weeks.  It melts down to just a few inches and then it snows again.  Not surprising for January, but normally we have a few big snows and then it stops.  Roads are cleared and schedules are kept.  This winter, it snows almost every day.  It’s not making my commute to school at all easy, but it is challenging.

In fact, challenging seems to be my word for the month.  Everything seems to be challenging.   Getting my computer to work is a challenge.  Keeping my online text from crashing is a challenge.  But, knowing it’s still at least six weeks before anything is blooming may be the biggest challenge.

It’s difficult to do much in the garden, especially with our lovely Palouse clay, until late April.  But, by early March there are a few signs of spring.  Crocus start to bloom and little plants being to emerge.  Even the weeds are a welcome site!   The same dandelion that most people want to eradicate in July, offers a nice flower for a bumblebee to land on, in early April.

However, right now it’s snow and more snow.  I actually like snow.  Especially in December.  But by the end of January, I’m looking forward to spring and all the daffodils, tulips and hyacinths that will be blooming in the garden.

Once upon a time…

013there was a woman, who decided to make a big change in her life.  She loved to garden and wanted to start her own business, as a landscape designer.  But first, she would have to go back to school.

Did I mention it’s been a few years, since she was the age of a typical college freshman?  And she still has to work at her current job, spend time with her husband and family, and now she’s got homework???   In other words, just a modern day woman in search of a fairy tale ending to her story…the chance to start a business, doing what she loves.

So, if you’ve ever wanted to do something else with your life, please join me in what promises to be an adventure.  Maybe you’ll decide to start you own.  Hopefully we’ll each find our version of happily ever after.