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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Forcing the Bloom


Today’s Thursday garden tidbit may seem trivial at best but it’s worth repeating because it happens so frequently at this time of year. When you shop and peruse for delicate annuals, shrubs and perennials to give you instant color, remember where most, if not all of these containers and flats have been for the past few months. If any plant materials were forced in greenhouses, protected from the weather or came from warmer climates, you must gradually transition them (harden them off) to your local climate. With the potential for frost and nasty weather still looming in the April/May background, you don’t want to cause unnecessary damage to these tender plant materials. Don’t be fooled by blueberry bushes you bought at a box store busting out in bloom. It isn’t like the fully dormant bare root stock that came in a cardboard box, which should be planted now in the ground.

This is just a friendly reminder for those who insist on hurrying spring along. It happens more frequently when we humans are forced into dormancy longer than expected. Consider this past winter we just experienced in New England. 

Be careful with what you force into action. Patience works so much better, including in our own gardens. As Henry David Thoreau pointed out in his book, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, “I was not designed to be forced. I will breathe after my own fashion. Let us see who is the strongest.” That’s the wrap so enjoy what is naturally in bloom.

The top two images are of potted Mums purchased on Easter weekend, which should not be planted in our own garden until late May. The bottom image is from yesterday’s post. Just in case you missed the Spring Connection you can find more images of early spring blooms.

All Images by Ann Bilowz ©
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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)