Finding Spring

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English primroses

This morning my friend and I went with my partner to the Homestead Garden Center in search of a breath of spring.  After all, we turned our calendars over today to March.  We wanted to celebrate the day, and the new month, with a visit to our friends, the Pattons, who so lovingly and generously encourage our mutual love of all things green and growing.

Homestead Garden Center this morning, before the plants were brought back out of the greenhouse.

Homestead Garden Center this morning, before the plants were brought back out of the greenhouse.

It had just nudged above the freezing mark when we set out this morning, and the sky was low and grey.  Bundled in our gloves and hats, wrapped in our coats, we pulled in mid-morning to a still and silent shop.

Roxy and Dustin left the warmth of the office to greet us.  Only a few brave Violas and some shrubs filled the racks, normally packed tightly with an ever changing array of beautiful plants.

We had come to see the hellebores, and no hellebores were in sight.  It was so cold last night that nearly everything in bloom had been tucked back into the greenhouse before dusk, and so to the greenhouse we were led.



When Dustin opened the door, and led us inside, we found the spring we had come looking for today. 

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Warm and humid, condensation dripping on us from the roof, we smelled the warmth of potting mix and the aroma of all things green and growing.



And the color!  The carts were packed with bright blooming things waiting to go back outside once the sun shone and the air warmed.

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We were met with Ranunculus, just opening their first buds in screaming shade of scarlet, gold, and pink.



Pots of vivid English primroses, and planters packed with bright Violas waited to be wheeled back outside to greet whatever hardy customers turned up today.

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Row after row of Hyacinths, Muscari, parsley, Verbena, Heuchera, and dozens of other tiny plants waited their turn to grow large enough to leave the greenhouse for the world beyond.

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The sheer joy of it.  Dustin gave us our pick of the everything large enough to leave.

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A rare treat, as the greenhouse is rarely opened to shoppers. 

My friend gathered her Hyacinths for the celebration of Noruz, coming on the 21st; and we both selected parsley and hellebores.  I gathered more Violas.

Flats of parsley ready to pot up for spring sale.

Flats of parsley ready to pot up for spring sale.

We filled the back of our car with flowers and parsley. 

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We are also keen to try the mushroom compost, a new product at Homestead this season.  We’ll dig it in to our pots as we plant our starts, and use it as a topdressing on some of our beds.

The rich, composted manure used to grow mushrooms will  improve water retention in the soil, and will perk everything up for maximum spring growth.  Because some brands of mushroom compost have higher levels of salt than other soil amendments, it isn’t  recommended for starting seeds.  This organic product is wonderful on established plants, however.

The mushroom compost we purchased is the stack on the far right.  The Pattons sell only organic soil amendments, fertilizers, and growing aids.

The mushroom compost we purchased is the stack on the far right. The Pattons sell only organic soil amendments, fertilizers, and growing aids.

After a visit with Roxy in the shop, selecting seeds, looking at new pots, and stocking up on fertilizers; we finished visiting and pulled away.

The sun had broken through the low clouds a time or two while we shopped, and we could feel the morning warming- if only a little bit.  But we had a car load of spring time.  The aromas of the greenhouse still  filled the the air as we drove home.

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Brunnera, “Jack Frost”

With yet another winter storm barreling across the country, poised to hit us tomorrow night, our pots and flats fresh from the greenhouse were carefully tucked into sheltered spots once home.  But we have them.  They are ready to go out into the garden on the next thaw.

We found spring today in the Patton’s greenhouse, and we brought a bit home with us.  Happy March!

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All Photos by Woodland Gnome 2014

Photos taken at the Ulster American Homestead Garden Center

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Soil with a lot of manure in it produces abundant crops;

water that is too clear has no fish.

Therefore, enlightened people should maintain the capacity to accept impurities

and should not be solitary perfectionists.

Huanchu Daoren

About woodlandgnome

Lifelong teacher and gardener.

6 responses to “Finding Spring

  1. Love all the plants and flowers, primrose and the violas are one of my favorites but the raccoons like to dig them up, same with the squirrels. I think they ate all my daffodils except for a few. Nothing was coming up so I dug up the bed and they are all gone, darn squirrels and raccoons!

    I hope you guys had a great weekend, it sure was nice! 🙂

    • Critters! So frustrating to plant the beauty and wait for it.. only to realize it was someone’s dinner while you slept. I’m so sorry, Michael, for your flowers. We got to the low 70s today, with sun. A lovely day. Clouds moving in this afternoon. Are you braced for more snow? Did you get to do any hiking today? Best wishes, WG

      • We have had snow flurries all morning, doesn’t look like it is going to do anything major, I sure hope not! I am tired of the snow and ice, ready for spring. I had thought I would hike yesterday day afternoon but we had our daughter come over with our grandson, so I spent time with them and cooked dinner! 🙂 Fun time with the grandson!

        • Was that last night’s dinner you posted? What beautiful little potatoes and butter beans! What great memories for daughter and grandson. Glad it was a good day. Nothing falling here, yet. Our projected totals kept seesawing all day yesterday. Who knows, until we look out of the window some time tomorrow? TN sure got hit hard yesterday. I hope the bulk of this goes well to the north- north of you and north of us 😉 If you see Midwest Living Magazine, they had some gorgeous wood products featured in a “green” decorating piece which made me think of you. There were cutting/serving boards with the bark still on one edge, and these amazing coasters, Michael which I’d love to order if you’d make them. The coasters were slices of a branch, bark on, and well sanded and finished so the grain (rings) just glowed. Each was maybe 5/8 ” thick. You can download Midwest Living to your electronic device if either of you have a Kindle or Nook. I’d love you to see them. Southern Living should carry such great articles….. Enjoy the day, WG

  2. farseems

    Oh yes, a lovely day it truly was, and being in the greenhouse best of all. The pots are all in their cozy corners indoors, waiting, waiting for spring to officially begin, come 21st March. Nowruz, New day, new beginnings, starting all over again, renewal, rebirth, joy in the air, smiles all around as flowers and people bloom yet again, after long cold winters.

    The Parley, ah the abundant parsley so generously given, went into turnip and bean soup, full of parsley and dill. Warmth winter Aashes (soups) of the lingering winter before the spring and summer that awaits.

    • How delicious your healing and life giving soup, dear friend 😉 My own soup is simmering on the stove, and you’re inspiring me to include fresh parsley in ours tonight, too. Stay warm 😉 hugs, WG

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