Jenny did get a chance to take a few pictures at the beginning of our 2012 preview party last night. Perhaps some of them will at least give a feeling for what the shop looks like the first day of the gardening season. I hate for anyone who couldn’t be here to miss out on the feeling of it all. There is nothing quite like spring. The time for plans, new ideas, getting back outdoors-and that lime green color that says spring so eloquently.
Our winter has been anything but. I do not believe the ground ever froze. I have lots of friends and colleagues in the nursery business-none of us know what to make of this. Or what it means for the spring. March ordinarily is a winter month for us. It usually is milder than February, and much milder than January-but winter nonetheless. I not only have forced bulbs in full bloom, my tulips are out of the ground. The espaliers in the garage are breaking bud. Today, 38 degrees and snow showers. Tomorrow night, some say 12 degrees, others say 17. We jut decided to go ahead with a little spring all of our own invention. Yes, we had the heat on.
Rob’s trip to France in September resulted in a late January ship date. A relatively easy trip through customs meant our first container arrived while he was in Italy. In 1`6 years, this was the first time he was not here for an unloading. My landscape crew has worked steadily this winter, as the weather permitted such. They played an unprecedented, but substantial role in transforming the shop from last season, to this season for the simple reason that it was possible to work.
Weather of a markedly different sort is not that unusual, if you look back long enough. I am sure there are those gardeners who lived out long and comfortingly average gardening years without so much as a blip. My apprehension about a strikingly atypical winter is is fairly well matched by my interest and curiousity about the unknown. So we are celebrating our usual March 1 reopening with an emphasis on spring-as that spring seems to be lurking about.
Rob sourced some great hellebore plants-we potted them up in plain clay pots, and set them in saucers-old fashioned, this treatment. These spring blooming helleborus orientalis cultivars can be planted out, and enjoyed for years to come, in April. But this moment, hellebores blooming March 1st is an enchanting promise of spring. Lots of them went home Thursday night.
The French glazed containers, antiques, and vintage garden ornament looked so good to my eye-and my gardening heart. So many years ago we brought over containers of French pots from a number of regional poteries. This newest group brings back so many memories of our early years. They also are so strikingly different than the containers from years ago. Every reference to the history of French pot making is intact, but each poterie has a contemporary interpretation of that history all their own. These cream white glazed French pots are offered with a new option of a square base. How I love that Rob saw fit to include these glazed bases. How these footed urns sit now-graceful and solid.
Today we had lots of company-there are many other gardeners anticipating spring just as much as we are. A vintage French wood sink on legs stuffed with hellebores-does it get any better than this? Sure it does-but for March 1st, this will better than do.
We did pot up and force bulbs in containers. How I managed to get color showing March 1-I have no tips to offer other than to say our unheated garage was warmer than usual. My potting schedule and treatment was the usual.
We added bits of forsythia branches, moss and lichens to some of the bulb plantings in baskets. A spring scene that might help fend off the worst of this season with no name. On the table, bunches of faux tulips to be added at that later date when the real ones have run their course. Why not?
The corgis are back on duty now, after a long hiatus. They like having visitors, just like we do. We have coffee and sweet bites, if you have a mind to get out of the cold, and warm up to the our idea of spring.