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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Come on Spring!

by Mauverneen

Spring is coming! Spring is coming!  Really.  Officially.  This week.

It can’t get here any too soon.  It’s been a long, cruel winter for a lot of us and Cabin Fever has reached epidemic proportions.

This past Saturday I attended the annual Garden Day at the Pilcher Park Birdhaven Greenhouse – in our local park. What a positively great way to kick-off spring.  A tote bag full of catalogs, literature, coupons and other goodies was given to each participant. There were speakers, vendors, raffles, slide presentations and lunch.

Dolly Foster                                                                   Bill Shores

The first speaker, Dolly Foster, taught us something about Butterfly Gardening and also introduced us to the rigors of a Butterfly nursery.  A true labor of love, Dolly actually searches for tiny, tiny Monarch Butterfly eggs (no bigger than the head of a pin), harvests them, nurtures them through the larvae and caterpillar stages and eventually, the majestic metamorphosis.  The numbers on the Monarchs are staggeringly low, and have been steadily in decline.  If you are anywhere in the path of their migration please check out your local garden club or extension society and find out what you can do to encourage the growth of the Monarch population. They have a long, long migration path and having short life spans it takes them five generations to get from one end to the other. Amazing!
A Monarch butterfly

Secondly there was Mary Saba of the renowned Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL with her presentation “Gardening in Tough Sites”.  She certainly made it seem fairly easy to have a beautiful yard or garden with a little research and advance planning into what plants to use where.  Grass won’t grow?  Try a groundcover.  I found a couple of new ones (to me) that are way more attractive than grass and won't require mowing.  (More Positively Margarita time in the hammock!)

Springtime at the Morton Arboretum
The final speaker was Bill Shores, who works with famed Chicago restaurateur Rick Bayless, among others.  “Designing Edible and Ornamental Small Space Gardens” was really an eye-opener on just how little space you actually need for a successful, productive garden.  Rooftop gardens are sprouting everywhere and it’s a blooming trend in the restaurant business to grow your own greens and veggies onsite.  I never considered it before, but with a grow-lite I could have tomatoes growing in my basement year round!

Lunch in the warm, sunny greenhouse with a view to the waterfall.   Aaaahhhh. 

I am definitely going to try a couple of different techniques for my garden this summer in the hope of increasing production - and I’m looking through those seed catalogs with a different eye and an actual plan.   
Wouldn't this make a positively awesome backyard water feature!

Checking out the contents of my tote bag later that evening I found information on a couple of new parks and gardens to visit and a very nice selection of flower seeds!  

I can’t wait to start digging! 

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