Yesterday, I set a new personal record for the earliest day to plant pansies in containers on my front porch.
Though I do not need a defense for my actions, if anyone should question my wisdom in planting so early I have several pieces of evidence I can present on my own behalf.
First, I enjoyed a record high temperature of 76º Fahrenheit (24º Celsius). I challenge any gardener to resist this kind of weather and stay out of their garden. It is almost impossible to do.
Then the extended weather forecast indicated we are going to enjoy moderate temperatures here in Indianapolis for at least the next ten days, with occasional dips in nighttime temperatures below freezing, which won’t hurt the pansies. Those ten days will take us into March. And everyone knows March is fair game for planting pansies most years around here.
Finally, the owners of the local greenhouse sent me messages on Facebook with pictures of their pansies in bloom, ready to plant. They know the tradition is for me to be their first customer in the spring. Most years, including this year, I’ve bought my pansies from them before they’ve even put out their open-for-business sign. This year I was technically their second customer, but I could see that their first customer just cherry-picked a few individual pansies. Lightweight gardener. Doesn’t count. I bought four flats of pansies.
I rest my case.
As I planted my pansies, I recalled how years ago my dad planted his peas at least once in February, which is early around here. I remember the year, too. 1983. I was home that day and had just received a job offer for what was to be the beginning of a 33-year career in healthcare information technology. Though at the time, I didn’t know it would be a 33-year career. I accepted the offer so I would be employed while I continued looking for a job that could combine my love of gardening with my ability to program computers. The best-laid plans… what were we talking about?
Oh, yes, we were talking about my father planting his peas early. I figured out that day was February 23, 1983, a Wednesday, his normal day off from work. I looked up the weather for that day and found out the high temperature was 50º Fahrenheit. If 50º Fahrenheit was warm enough for my dad to sow peas in his garden, what would he think of his daughter if she didn’t sow her peas on a February day with a high temperature of 76º Fahrenheit?
We will never find out because after I finished potting up all the pansies, I sowed a nice row of peas in The Vegetable Garden Cathedral. This year I’m starting off with two varieties — ‘Progress 9’, a dwarf variety of shelling peas which supposedly doesn’t need staking, and ‘Snowbird’, an early sugar pea, also a dwarf variety.
After I finished planting the peas, I sat in a chair and surveyed the garden, making a mental note of what I should have been doing instead of sitting. I should have been cutting back perennials, pulling out those opportunistic early spring weeds, and generally sharpening up the edges of the garden blurred by winter.
Instead, I enjoyed the view of the crocuses blooming in the lawn. After a while, I got up with the intention of taking some pictures of the crocuses.
I have trouble photographing the crocuses in a way that shows how pretty they are to see. If I stand and point the camera at the lawn, I end up with pictures of a big expanse of green with little dots of color. If I lie on the ground to take the picture, I get a good close up view of a few crocuses with the idea of more in the background.
But who lies on their lawn to view and take pictures of their crocuses? Finally, I figured it out. Forget the photographs. The best way to view the crocuses in the lawn is from sitting in a chair after an afternoon spent planting pansies and sowing peas.
Oh, yes. I’ve sprung. Let the season begin.
Good for you! We're getting the coldest temperatures of the winter right now. Record-breaking lows for these dates, but your posts gives me hope that March and spring are on their way!
LINDA from Each Little World says
We are about to get warmer weather but only high 30 and low 40s. I so agree about how difficult it is to photograph Crocus that shows the viewer what we see. I will have to try your sitting technique!
Lisa at Greenbow says
I have been doing a lot of sitting in my garden too. Lovin this prelude to spring.
I wish we had such lovely warm weather here in the UK! I do not blame you for making the most of it. Happy gardening!
OH – how nice for you!!! Here in Minnesota we had another round of snow and ice on Monday. We are waiting for the next round starting tomorrow ( Thursday) afternoon. They say another 3 to 5 inches of that white stuff.
I have tiny pansies growing in the basement. It will be another month before they can go any where near the outdoors! Enjoy that yard of flowers!!
Here in Vermont it hit 69 F today, but the garden is still buried in snow, so no thought of getting out in the garden (even if I had had the day off work!) But so much fun to see your crocus and think of getting out in the garden.
Jean C says
People here in Boise tell us not to plant until the snow melts off Bogus Basin. I pay no attention to them. They are sad little pessimists. That mountain is far away from me and I am happily tilling the soil in my little garden.
We're due to freezing temps here in the UK (even in London) so your short lived 24C sounds blissful! I'm going to hold off sowing until the temps start to even out a bit though.
Good for you! On that beautiful warm day, I did not plant anything, but I walked around to see what was going on. Last summer I transplanted an heirloom peony that I have had for many years. I was afraid that it would not make it, because it didn't look good after it was transplanted. I see new growth! Yay!
I also have trouble photographing crocuses. Good to know it's not just me.
I, also, am having trouble with crocus-pics, although that's mostly because THERE AREN"T ANY HERE YET! I think I'm several weeks away here in Northeastern Kansas.
Sam Smith says
I've been binge-reading your posts, and this is another awesome one. Kudos!