April! April! Is it you?

“April! April! is it you?
See how fair the flowers are springing!
Sun is warm and brooks are clear,
Oh, how glad the birds are singing!
April! April! is it you?” Poem by Dora Read Goodale

“Spring translates earth’s happiness into colorful flowers.” Terri Guillemets

The pale pink roses, shown above, are reminders of my garden past, beautiful blossoms this first day of April. The strawberry, shown below, embodies the hope and possibilities of the season ahead.

“It was such a pleasure to sink one’s hands into the warm earth – to feel at one’s fingertips the possibilities of the new season.” Kate Morton

One question that has been asked dozens of times the past few weeks has been, “Is it safe to plant now?” That translates to: Have we seen our last freeze of the year? Old-timers will tell you that we aren’t out of the woods for a late freeze until Easter. True enough, this gardener remembers an Easter snow many years ago. Mid-March is Dallas-Fort Worth’s average last freeze date. Average meaning: Our last freeze may come in February. Or it may come at Easter. This year the last freeze came early. Or so it appears.

Is it safe to plant now? This gardener will generally answer that question with another question. Is it ever truly safe to plant? One never knows what Mother Nature may throw at us. Late freezes. Hail. Intense heat. Record breaking cold. Prolonged drought. Relentless rain. This week’s weather brought us intense winds, leaving many of the tall bearded irises listing wayward. (Below photograph.) In 28 years of gardening this plot of earth, I have seen the extremes. It is never really safe to plant. To garden is to take chances. One learns quickly to roll with the punches and to always have a backup plan.

This suburban food forest is coming together, nourishing the gardener’s body and soul. To wander about, barefoot, harvesting herbs for a lunchtime salad. The onions and potatoes, planted in January and February, are coming along nicely. Tomatoes and peppers have been planted. Succession plantings of beans has begun. The possibilities truly seem limitless in the springtime garden.

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.” Alfred Austin

Despite the winds, the tall bearded irises, shown below, have been especially delightful this week, nurturing my soul.

“Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.” Luther Burbank

Scented geraniums are best known for their intoxicating scents, though this gardener finds the flowers equally charming. (Shown below.)

Bridal’s wreath spirea, shown below, is aptly named. Ah, spring! See how fair the flowers are springing!

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