Absolutely Beautiful

We are being treated to an absolutely beautiful and inspiring spring this year.  Oklahoma has absorbed some bad tornado, hail and high wind damage in Woodward, Norman and the Altus area but other than the pain in those pockets of our state we have enjoyed beautiful spring weather blessed with regular soaking rains in most areas.  The early spring and regular rains have led to some of the biggest and earliest flushes of spring growth on most all of our plant materials from grasses to shrubs and trees and unfortunately weeds.  It is like all our living plants are celebrating surviving the terrible heat and drought of last summer and the extreme freezes of the winter that preceeded the drought by jumping from the ground with the energy of celebration and growing and blooming to welcome better times!  Let’s hope the rains, the growing and the celebrating last all growing season.

 No two years are ever alike and every year in the garden or on the farm when you are dealing with nature is a new chapter and a new experience.  Wine connoisseurs know that, as they debate whether the 1992 or the 2005 or some other vintage is the best. The same is true for roses, tomatoes, petunias and crepe myrtles.  Since each plant has different optimum conditions, okra, impatiens or any other crop is likely to have their best year at different times.  Some of the success factors we can control by amending and improving our soils, fertilizing, helping fend off insects and diseases and most importantly by supplemental watering and selecting the right new locations for the plants we want to grow.  Some factors are totally out of our hands like daytime temperatures, nighttime temperatures, wind, humidity levels, sunlight intensity and cloud cover and the type, size and regularity of rain events.  Every year is different  and a new experience.  That is part of both the fun and the challenge of gardening.  It looks like this year is off to a fabulous start and has a chance to be a “vintage” year for Oklahoma gardeners. Like farmers, gardeners have to be optimists to start fresh each year and plunge ahead into the great unknown of the new growing season without knowing what weather and challenges lie ahead.  When it works, few other things produce such great returns to feed the stomach with food and the soul  with beauty and a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

 We are only one week into the normal spring planting season so this is prime planting season for virtually all growing crops.  This is the time to plant your patio pots, hanging baskets and other decorative containers.  It is the time to plant bermuda grass seed, plant fruit trees to start an orchard, grapes for a vineyard or berries for a berry patch.  Plant herbs to start an herb or kitchen garden, trees for shade, shrubs to add character and landscape your yard.  This is the optimum time to plant perennials for seasonal color, annuals for regular color from now until the first freeze next winter. Few things are as satisfying as growing your own tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and other summer vegetables and now is the time to plant all those fresh food crops for summer harvesting.

 Visit your local nursery or garden center, soak in the beauty and select some slices of nature you want to add to your yard.  Then sow the seeds, plant the plants, water them and get ready to partner with nature and enjoy the 2012 ride of the seasons with your plants.

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