by Kathie Hoyer – April 24, 2020

Ever since I started teaching seed-starting classes, I’ve told our customers:
“Remember the average last frost date is April 15th — easy to remember, it’s tax day!”

Well, this year, this crazy year… tax day has been moved to July 15th and brrrr! it was starting to feel as if our last frost date was going to delay delay delay as well.

And today… is so lovely! Do you wonder sometimes if our plants get as mixed up as we do?

My last journal post never made it online — its date, Friday the 13th of March, was the day so many of us mark now as the beginning of Stay-at-Home and Work-from-Home. The post was all about the vegetable 6-packs “coming next week,” with no inkling that you all would soon be ordering your broccoli and cabbages online for curbside pick-up, and it was out of date before it could be uploaded! We’ve been having some gray days in more ways than one, and for only a few days here and there was I able to go out to begin waking up the garden. But finally, finally I am now hardening off my tomato and pepper seedlings and finding a spot for all the tiny perennial plants that I winter-sowed almost 4 months ago. The wonderful thing about living in the midwest is we have such long summers that there is no need to rush the season — in the words of the Kemper Center’s Chip Tynan, “It’s not who gets the first tomato, it’s who gets the last tomato!”

So take your time about preparing your beds and maintaining your garden. Maybe this is the year to add a few new plants to refresh your spring and summer point of view. These are the best days for working outside and if, like me, you’ve been working inside for the last five or six weeks, it’s time to remind yourself that you need a little dirt under your fingernails and sun in your eyes. Take a break — go trench a few beds, spread some compost or just fritter away a little time with all the happy new growth — then you can go back to your job of keeping the world of work spinning on its axis.

It’s hard to believe, but this is the first spring in 13 years that I’m not out in the nursery setting out the beautiful Bowood- grown perennials and eyeing the ones that might go home with me. I’m only living it vicariously like the rest of you, but soon, soon (please no more delay delay delay) may we all be back, happy and healthy and enjoying the summer blooms!