Surreal Spring

Flower collage

This has been a very different start to our spring than normal. Within 10 days of starting the furnaces, we are in the middle of a global pandemic, the likes of which has not been seen in over 100 years. It feels surreal to me. I spend the days going about my work putting more distance between myself and other people, telling people they are standing too close to one another and washing my hand a million times a day. I am an essential worker, according to the government of Minnesota, and I agree. I love what I do, and I would sleep in the greenhouse if I couldn’t travel to and from work. Every plant that arrives gives me hope that this will end, and spring will come just like it always does. That the seasons will progress as they always do because the world does not stop turning just because we are dying.

I think we can and should take a lesson from nature. While this is a time of uncertainty for so many of us we cannot let this stop us from being able to find joy in seeing a seed sprout or a plant bloom.

What can we do to bring ourselves hope? As I mentioned earlier, start seeds. Watch the miracle of nature unfold before your eyes. I have been starting seeds for my garden since the middle of March. So far, I have celery, pepper and tomato seeds planted. Up next will be flowers and cool weather crops like cabbage and broccoli.

If you don’t have grow-lights, try the winter sowing method to start some of your seeds. You will need some 1-gallon water or milk jugs. First year I tried winter sowing, we were in the middle of a polar vortex with -20 temps and they still grew.

If you can, get outside and take a walk. Try to pick times of the day that other people won’t be out. I walk my dogs between 5 and 6 am and I very rarely see another person out. Plus I get to see the sunrise.

Look for the signs of spring showing the earth coming to life. Notice the returning perennials pushing out of the ground.

Daylily emerging from the ground

See the tree buds swelling with the promise of summer shade to come.

swollen bud on a lilac

Appreciate the bare branches of the trees against the sky; enjoy the beauty even if it is a cloudy day.  Let some time with nature help us deal with the mental load of comprehending what is happening in our world.

Tree branches

If you have an outdoor space such as a yard or a patio, even if you are social distancing, you can still garden. Use this time to connect with nature. If your flower beds need to be cleaned up, get out there and get them ready for the season.

Is there a gardening project that has been on your radar for a few years that you could work on? I know many of us have been saving pallets to use for projects such as planters, compost bins, etc. I have a bunch stockpiled to make planters.

Planter box made out of pallets

Since we can’t start digging in the ground quite yet, now would be a great time to start on those ‘If Only I had Time’ projects.

And remember Spring will come and the flowers will bloom.

Flower collage

Written by

Cathy Maxson is Sargent's Gardens Perennial Growing manager. In addition to making sure Sargent's grown plants thrive, she enjoys growing in her own garden, canning fruits and vegetables, traveling, and walking her dogs.