Until spring really kicks in

March 30, 2010
Spring is literally here, officially starting on March 20th.  And for gardeners in Chicago, it is emotionally here and has been for awhile.  We are ready in our hearts and minds to start gardening.  Seeds are ordered and some already started.  Lists are made and plans noted for plants to try this year or new garden areas to create. Spring bulbs are greeted with smiles and glee.
Until spring really kicks in

Credit: Mary Pendergast

I have cleared my deck of evergreen boughs and pine cones that had filled my window box to get me through the winter.  Tarps that had been covering my insulated perennials are folded and put away.  The deck is swept and the furniture is in place.  So now what? I am chomping at the bit to do more, especially on warm and sunny days.  But spring is not practically here yet.  The ground is wet so best not to walk on it or dig in it and compact the soil.  Snow may not be done with us yet as I learned last weekend after uncovering huddled containers and putting them on the landing for a day of sunbathing in 50 degree weather.  The next morning I was scraping an inch of wet snow off the tops. I did some garden cleanup today stepping gingerly from sidewalk to stone.  I cut back the grasses so new shoots can get light and air.  The viburnum shrubs got some pruning, great to do when you can see the shape so clearly.  It felt good.  Connecting to the garden again, getting dirty, smelling soil.  But it’s still early for gardening in Chicago.  So now what?  Oh I know – pansy containers!