Dear Dee and Carol, March 8, 2009

Dear Carol and Dee,

We certainly picked a wild day to start writing about our gardens. I have a virtual “white out” with snow here in Boise – it’s barely 30 degrees. I see from the weather reports Dee is a warm, sunny, and clear at 69, and, Carol, raining off and on, but a decent 64. Woe is me in the northern tier.

I have a few crocuses blooming, and two small iris reticulata were bold enough to stick their heads up through the snow a couple of days ago. The flowering dogwood is full of promise (and just a few feet from my desk and window). It’s covered with hundreds of fat round buds with perfect seams. My new apricot tree is loaded with tiny purple budlets, all waiting for the first real week of warmth. The soonest that might happen is around St. Patrick’s Day, when the hit-or-miss weatherman predicts we will be basking in the high 50’s.

The tulips I potted up and wintered in the garage are stretching like giraffes to get to the little bit of sunlight coming through the three northeast windows. I know it’s still too cold to put them out so, the flowers will no doubt be paltry for want of more sunshine.

I’ll console myself with the big seed project on the dining room table (major staging area of Ranch du Bois). I’ve attempted to gather up all the loose packets of seeds, vegetables and flowers, to get them into one place. My half-baked effort of creating a seed notebook is just that, half-baked. Some packets are tucked nicely into their see -through pages and the recently arrived, dearly coveted, NEW seeds are in a big heap. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t neglected, NO, in fact, the packets are arranged and re-arranged, read, and admired on a daily basis. I have yet to put them in any order.

My seed dilemma, is a wild departure from Carol’s dedicated “spreadsheet, calendar, weather station operation and seed starting plan” in Indianapolis. And Dee, she’s no doubt admiring the second set of leaves on her tomato seedlings. I don’t dare start my tomatoes for another week or so, and then I will pot them up into larger pots a couple of times to get big strong plants to set out by Labor Day. Just kidding. I am going to step into the danger zone and put them out by Mother’s Day.

I’m going to forgo the purchase of violas and pansies this year. Once it does get warm here, and it generally happens very fast, they completely fry. They always, always disappoint me. And don’t even mention primroses. I hate them. Little short necks, garish colors, indoor softies…..they aren’t for me either.

I’ve said before, gardening in Idaho is not for the faint of heart, so, onward I’ll go, hang on to your hats for Mrs. Toad’s wild ride in this Z 6 sagebrush steppe garden, and we’ll keep track of our trials and tribulations.

As I close my note to you, in just 30 minutes, the blizzard has passed over, the sky has turned blue, and the sun is out. I’m going to dust the snow off the hellebores.

Your gardener friend,
Mary Ann