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March Musings

The bare bones of our winter garden is an empty canvas. March is the time to plan your garden in Spring.

a flower garden.

Photo: Rob J. Brooks

March is the perfect time to start planning your Spring garden.

Thoreau once wrote that spring is an experience in immortality. At this time of the year, as we see our natural world showing signs of rebirth, we feel the urge to be out working in our gardens.  In order to showcase our early spring flowers, we need to gather up the debris of winter in order for the flowering bulbs to be seen. But March is a fickle month.

An anonymous poet wrote:

“The March wind roars, like a lion in the sky, and makes us shiver as he passes by.”

The Winter Garden: A Blank Canvas

So, we should hold off on planting annuals until our zone’s frost-free date. However, you can exercise your imagination by deciding how you want your flower beds to look in the months ahead. You can imagine in your mind’s eye where we want drifts of the same plants and how you can intersperse contrasting colors and shapes.

The bare bones of the garden are like an empty canvas, so, you can try to visualize the proportions of the plants in the fullness of summer. You can also resolve to do a better job at pinching back some of the perennials that grew too tall last year. Perhaps it would help to make notes on the calendar. Perfection in our summer and fall gardens really does seem an achievable goal in March. This optimism in springtime energizes gardeners.

A light exists in spring
Not present in the year
At any other period—
When March is scarcely here.

-Emily Dickinson

Prune evergreens in very early spring.
Prune roses when the forsythia blooms.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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