Saturday, April 9, 2016

When the Time is Right - Phenology

It's official. Snow has become the guest who's 
overstayed his welcome. 

Apparently, we can't use the calendar to accurately tell us when trees will leaf out, when flowers will bloom, when insects will emerge, or when we can plant, so how can we plan?

Phenology, the study of periodic plant and animal life-cycle events influenced by seasonal changes and climatic conditions.

If we pay close attention we'll know when it's safe to go back out to the garden. Some practical signs from nature sound like old wive's tales. The old wise wives were obviously highly intelligent when it came to not wasting our time until the time was right. 

I love lilacs. They are one of the few things the deer usually leave alone, to some extent. According to Jeanne Hilinske-Christensen, M.S., is the Consumer Horticulture Educator for Kenosha County UW-Extension, they also offer many helpful hints for gardeners, such as...

"Plant cole crops, spinach, carrots, and beets when the first leaf of lilac emerges.

When lilacs are in bloom, plant beans, squash, and cucumber seeds. Also, watch for pine sawfly activity when lilacs are blooming.

Plant peas when forsythia blooms.

Plant tomatoes when Lily of the Valley are in full bloom.
Plant potatoes when the first dandelion blooms"

So, basically, I should be in no rush to plant much of anything around here. I'll just settle back and enjoy the blue sky when we can get it and the hints of green as they come.

Well, I don't need too much more of a sign to tell me I'm not gardening today. The spade frozen into my wheel barrow says it all
 The signs are everywhere, if we know what to look for.

 They say, hold on to hope. Spring will come, eventually. The Red Bud, Spirea, and Bluebells buds will burst into color.

And in the meantime we have daffodils.

Somebody, tell Winter it's time to go, so we can truly welcome Spring in for good.

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