Goodbye, April. I'm not sorry to see you go. It wasn't the rain I minded; April should be rainy to promote emerging plants and the newly planted to get a good grip before warmer, drier days arrive. I took a look at last year's calendar and April 2013 saw many rain-filled days. Oh, and when I turned the page in the 2013 calendar, I read that on the first week of May, it rained every day. Here's the difference: It wasn't as cold last year.
Those amazing little pansy plants that kept right on looking great through January's temps in the 20s loved our April, and I put the heat-loving periwinkle and zinnia replacement plants on hold.
If the rain has kept you from planting bare-rooted trees and shrubs, here's what to do: Heel it in someplace where it will have protection from the sun and wind. Spread out the roots as you would if you were planting, and fill in with earth, tap firmly and water. Is there yet a shrub or small tree in your yard that has not begun to leaf out? To discover if there is life, do a scratch test. Scratch away a small amount of bark approximately 1 inch from the base of the plant. If the plant tissue underneath is white or green, it is alive. If it is brown or black, it is dead.
Rainy days give time to peruse the many garden catalogs that arrive at our house. When Larry finishes with his mail, he sometimes browses in those garden catalogs that look appealing. That's how he discovered (and ordered) two bare-rooted plants -- a cocktail tree and a blue rose. Sophisticated gardeners know that for many years, there's been a laboratory search for the first blue rose; the cocktail tree claims to produce five varieties of fruit. Both small trees are now heeled-in, waiting for a dry planting day and giving me time to figure out where to plant so they'll be noticed.
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That's just in case of miracles.
This brings me to trees and a fun subject to wonder at. There is an artist traveling around the world painting trees blue. Really. His name if Konstantin Dimopoulos and he has painted trees blue in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and in the U.S. in Houston; Galveston, Texas; Seattle; Richmond, Virginia.; and at the University of Florida. The blue is not subtle; it's cobalt, garish and gaudy. It is also biodegradable pigment, dissolving into the ground in about six months. It is said you can't pass a blue tree without stopping, and that's the point. Dimopoulos says they are his personal protest against deforestation. I say, go for it.
GOINGS ON IN BEAUFORT COUNTY