Marty's Garden, early March, 2019


The other day while reading one of my gardening books I came across a quote which went something like this: “March and November have much in common, but March has more promise”. Oh, how true that is; let me count the ways.

·         The days are getter longer and then on March 10th the clock jumps forward and suddenly we have an extra hour of daylight. What joy!


·         March 21st, the first day of spring. Ok, last year on the first day of spring we had a snowstorm which dropped 8+ inches of snow. Considering we just had 3 nuisance snowstorms with 4 to 6 inches of snow each this past week, I am sincerely hoping THAT won’t happen this year.


·         The temperatures are heading up. Well, they haven’t yet. As a matter of fact, we are below normal for now, but it is still early. Eventually, though, they WILL go up.


·         Sun, sun, glorious sun. It brightens the house (and shows me where the dust bunnies are hiding). When I walked out of the house yesterday, I could feel a bit of warmth from those first rays. It even melts snow on freezing days!


·         Nurseries will soon open again and entice us with all the possibilities spring will bring.

 I am always interested in the names of plants and the story behind them. Quite often breeders name new varieties after loved ones or a famous person. Some plants are so successful that you can still find the named variety decades or more later. For instance, the peony ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ dates back to 1906 and was named after the French actress who was world famous at that time. To this day, Dutch growers alone grow 20 million ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peonies each year for export and while I had one in my New Jersey garden, I really should get another one for this garden. Currently I am trying to personalize my garden with plants which share the same name as my parents. For the last few years I had been trying to find the iris reticulata named ‘Alida’ and this past fall I was successful in getting it. This spring it will be blooming in the front garden in blue with yellow and white markings and remind me of my mom. Then the search was on for a Kees, anything named Kees.  Reading a gardening magazine, I came across a bright and large flowering marigold named ‘Kees’ orange’. I have never been fond of marigolds; they make me break out in a rash when I touch them, and I never cared for their “fragrance”, but this one I had to have. A quick online search provided me with a place where I can buy the seeds and this spring and summer, I will have Kees’ orange marigolds growing in my yellow/gold/orange and red beds. Thank you, Mr. Kees Sahin, the Dutch breeder, after which this plant was named.

Moth orchids

In two of our guest bedrooms the first orchids have started to bloom. While there is still a blanket of snow outside, inside color brightens my day.  Meanwhile the potted-up roots and rhizomes in the basement are breaking through the soil and the beginning of plants can be seen. In another six to eight weeks these pots can be moved to the porch for hardening off (getting them used to outdoor conditions) and a week or two later I can plant them out to their final spots in the garden. Suddenly the basement seems too small to contain this explosion of greenery. It is true, March has infinitely more promise than November!