Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Spring Gardening. . .At Last!

by Maggie Sefton

Like other areas of the country, those of us along the Front Range of Colorado (Denver and points north along the Colorado Rockies) have been having a very wet Spring. Lots of rain, some light showers, other times days of rain when Pacific storm fronts have moved slowly across our areas bringing lots of water and cooler temps in the 60's. In fact, our High Country has received so much snow during winter/spring, that the snowpack is 200% of normal. That means there will be some flooding along our rivers when warm temps arrive and the snowmelt starts in June.

Now, we love having rain here in Colorado. This is the West, which means we're drier than points east of us like the Midwest and the entire East Coast. May is traditionally our rainiest month. That's all good. But. . .sometimes the rain storms and chilly weather last later in the month, which keeps most of us weekend gardeners inside. It's either raining or about to or it's just plain chilly.

Some of you, I know, will plant when it's chilly and damp outside. I've done a fair share of that myself when I lived Back East, and fifteen years in the Midwest. Then our family came to Colorado. . .and it spoils you rotten with the wonderful weather. Lots of sunny days and May temps that are warm from the first or second week onward into June and summer weather.

So. . .the later Spring storms kept me from planting my flower gardens this year. I haven't even made my yearly visit to the nurseries and garden shops to pick out my favorite annuals. Last weekend was nice, but my daughter Melissa was visiting from New York City so no garden shop visits. This weekend, however, looks great. Showers earlier in the week are giving way to sunny days and temps rising to mid and upper 70's. Perfect for digging in the dirt and being outside.

So. . .this week, I'll spare some time from finishing the Kelly Flynn mystery due in June and head to the local garden shops and indulge myself in browsing amongst the flowers. I love to plant annuals in the summer because they're such a big burst of colors. Simple petunias, delicate violas, bright impatiens. . .and so many others. I'm particularly fond of the lush purple colors and deep pinks. By this time next week, I should have all my flowerbeds in the front yard planted as well as all the big pots that I have in the gardens, lots and lots of pots. I have more in the back yard. Puppy Dog Max has a thing for hanging baskets, so I've become adept at securing them to the three bishop hooks along the back patio.

What are your favorite spring/summer flowers for planting? Do you plant in pots or in gardens?