Thursday, February 22, 2007

Itching for Spring

It has started.

I was in line at Lowes yesterday and picked up my first gardening magazine of the year. I love that moment when I recognize that spring is coming and I can sculpt my backyard with a shake of a seed package.

There's one plant that I've never had any luck with, the purple echinacea in the photograph above. I took that picture at the Holley Family Village in Michigan a few years ago. They had a wonderful, small garden filled with native plants and grasses. For the last couple of years, I've tried transplants, potted plants and seeds in an effort to get purple echinacea in my landscape.

At first, I tried just one potted plant, figuring that I could harvest the seeds and divide the plant for the following year. I'm such a cheap gardener, I don't like to spend money on something that can be propagated easily. That first year, the rabbits mowed the plant down to the ground.

The second year, I tried seeds in various locations. The rabbits had a picnic as soon as the seedlings sprouted.

I also hate having to barricade a plant, so plants have to be tough to survive in our backyard. We live across the street from a prairie filled with coyotes, so the rabbits take refuge in suburbia. You know that old rule about seeing one rabbit? It means you've got a family of a million rabbits instead.

Last year, I didn't bother with the echinacea because I was experimenting with white daisies from my neighbor. I was so happy that a clump of white daisies managed to survive the rabbits without a barricade.

So perhaps this summer will be the summer of purple flowers for me.

Stay tuned. Pictures will be forthcoming in August.

Assuming, of course, that the rabbits don't win again.


groovyoldlady said...

Everything I plant ends up food for the damned Japanese Beetles. How I HATE those bugs! They eat my blueberries and all the petals on my sunflowers and daisies and all the foliage on my mini-roses.

Grrrr. I'm getting angry already and it's only February. Down, Groovy, down!

Karen said...

I know, I can't stand the Japanese beetles either!

Matthew said...

We love our purple echinacea. The first year we planted them, it was late fall and they died right away. We had to replace most of them in early spring as I remember. Then after one good season (on a drip system in our backyard) they flourished. They are the most proflific flowering plants in our garden, and so far have been free of bugs (our columbine's are destroyed by aphids each year). Congrats for thinking about spring, it was 20 degrees yesterday and it seems like spring is never going to arrive.