gardenphyllisophyBy Phyllis Galowitz

After the surprising warm spell at the end of March, when we thought spring was here and the daffodils were almost blooming, it suddenly turned cold again and temperatures dipped into the 20s at night. Spring was not here after all, although, not far away, trees and bulbs were flowering. Spring does come late to Andes but when other communities have finished, we still have that excitement just beginning. Serviceberry trees are blooming and today, April 16th, my daffodils and forsythia are all opening. Shoots of everything are all emerging at the same time and it’s a wonderful time of the year.Picture2

Looking back at last year’s garden journal, the weather was pretty much the same, as if it couldn’t make up its mind whether it really wanted to be spring, and then came the rain and warm temperatures and suddenly, everything was growing at once!

Bears or raccoons have demolished the bird feeders. Maybe now that spring is here there will be enough food in the woods so that they’ll leave the feeders alone. Hummingbirds will be arriving during the first week of May. Hopefully their feeders won’t be disturbed. Chipmunks are digging in the containers on the deck. Nothing has been planted in them. What could they be looking for? It’s a reminder that when I do plant in them, I must protect the seeds with chicken wire that the seedlings can grow through, after they are mulched and fed with slow-release, organic fertilizer, since I didn’t do that in the fall.

I just returned from the Washington area, where the cherry blossoms had already finished blooming two weeks before they were supposed to. People who had planned vacations to see the cherry blossoms were disappointed at having missed them but Washington was still beautiful with other flowering bushes, trees and flowers in full bloom. It was wonderful to come home to find Andes full of promise of what is yet to come!Picture3

It’s time to plant seedlings indoors and to plant cool weather plants outdoors with protection from sudden night frosts, heavy spring rains and bright sun.

It’s dandelion season. Use the young leaves in salads with a lemony dressing. It’s delicious. Stir-fry them like spinach, with garlic and olive oil. Delicious! Dandelion is valued as a medicinal herb for all urinary troubles. The season is short for young leaves, so use them while you can. When the leaves are mature, they become bitter.  ~