Believe It or Not, It’s Spring

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It’s April 26th, and the Weather Channel has informed me that there’s a 70% chance of snow this evening. Not much, just an inch, but we’ll be hitting a low of 32 degrees. Meanwhile, by the end of the weekend, we’ll be back in the upper 60s.

Welcome to spring in northern Arizona: warm, flower-friendly weather for a few days and then – whoosh – a rush of wind, cold temps and the occasional snow flurry.

But when I see the new buds and leaves on my garden plants this time of the year, it fills me with a sense of hope for the season.

First of all, it’s great knowing my perennials survived another year. Then there’s the excitement of different annuals coming in as the season progresses and we move from pansies and petunias to coneflowers and dahlias.

Right now it’s a great time to plant trees, flowering shrubs, and lots of perennials. It’s even possible to start some warm season veggies, but you have to be strategic about it.

By definition, warm season vegetables are the ones that really can’t stand the cold – things like tomatoes and eggplants and melons. Because they are so susceptible to cool temperatures, they are typically planted outdoors only after the last frost of the spring. Which is a big problem here in northern Arizona because by the time we have that last frost, it’s practically summer.

Fortunately, you can always begin your warm-season veggies inside and then transplant them when the weather is a little more friendly. I have a whole separate blog about that, which you can read here.

I know spring in Flagstaff is maddeningly hard to predict and that makes gardening challenging here. But I was always taught that you don’t get what you wish for; you get what you work for, and the things that you work for the hardest give you the biggest reward.

That’s how I think of gardening in Flagstaff.  Difficult but worth it, and when spring finally decides to stick around, it’s like Mother Nature is giving us hope for the season to come.

Happy Gardening!