Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Miss Itchy Fingernails Makes A List.. or Two... or Three

I received a gift certificate (woo-hoo!) to a local nursery for my birthday waaay back in January.
Since then, we've had just enough sunshine peeking through the clouds to defrost the frost-heaved soil and just enough warm weather and rain to green up the lawns.  It's enough to make any gardener here start to think seriously about springtime even though we've also had a snowstorm or two.  Or three.

The annual longing for gardening weather is a delicate business in northern Nevada--maybe even more crucial than knowing I can't plant tomatoes until the snow's off Peavine Peak.  If I start to think about it too early,  I'm apt to get seriously depressed when I look at all the bare, frozen ground outside and realize I have weeks upon weeks upon weeks before I can get my hands dirty.  If  I start to plan to late--well, springtime's a busy season for teachers and past experience has shown that summer is too late to plant since we have a miniscule growing season.

I despise cold, wet, damp, rainy days.  (We northern Nevadans are a spoiled lot who expect sun for approximately 360 days per year.  Give us a week of clouds and we all come down with SAD, bouts of depression and a raging case of the "poor me's".)  But I have to admit that the gray days were perfect for planning this year's vegetable garden since I was stuck inside anyway.  Developing a list while I had the time hopefully prevented frittering my gift certificate away on plants that I don't have room for and seed packets that I don't need because I still have (tomatoes, beets, basil, you name it) seeds from the last millenium.

Truthfully,  I love making lists. Crossing off an item gives me a feeling of accomplishment and I gain momentum as I go.

I have a Spring Garden Chores list that I'm working my way through right now--pruning the fruit trees (check), raking leaves that escaped me last autumn (check),
continuing my search-and-destroy mission to eliminate the white violets while preserving the blue-flowered plants.

Each autumn, I make my Musical Chairs Plants list so I know what plants need to be moved where.  It's essential to make notes while the plants are full size because all the herbaceous perennials are almost invisible by springtime. This year the hardy geranium, the purple mum, the Red Volunteer daylily will all settle into new sites (although it's a tad early to start digging now).  Thanks to my list there will be NO tall plants blocking my view of the pond this year.
 The elimination of our pin oak brought some much-needed sunshine into our backyard--good for flowers and vegetables alike--so my list included seed potatoes (currently "chitting"), bare-root rhubarb (now at five leaves with more unfolding) and strawberries (lying low till the weather warms), chives, and onion sets (sitting on the workbench until St. Paddy's which is, by gosh, tomorrow).  It was satisfying to spend wisely (thanks to my list-making) and fabulous to spend lavishly (thanks to my thoughtful friends).

I still have money left on the gift certificate so I'm making yet another list.  As the snowfalls decline from two feet to six inches to a mere dusting, I tell myself that Spring is winning the battle so primroses and johnny-jump-ups should be making an appearance soon at the nursery.  Or perhaps a peony is hoping for a new home.  The flower list could be my favorite list of all!


  1. LOL! It is so hard not to rush right into gardening when we get a hint of warm weather.So anxious to get out and just Do.We had some warm days and then a threat of some more snow. It is just not fair for the weather to tease us so when we want to be outdoors getting dirty. ;-)

  2. I know exactly how you feel. I just bought a couple of plants yesterday and I'm chomping on the bit to set up my porch and plant. I just love spring :)