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  Thursday February 26th, 2015    

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The sprinter of our discontent (06/05/2013)
By Vicki Englich

My friend Lorraine declared this season, Sprinter. This makes sense: the weather during the past two months has belied what we normally experience in April and May. We understand that March is up for grabs: Old Man Winter may still tightly

hold his grip on us. But ice storms in April; snow days for schoolchildren in May? I have never had to cover tomatoes in late May during the 27 years I have lived in Winona. Fortunately we did not experience a deep frost--at least in town. And now, we are treated to unrelenting rain storms.

I dash outside in between storms to transplant the perennials from one garden to another in order to make the front yard vegetable bed. I couldn’t do this last summer because of the intense heat and drought that we endured, knowing that the chances of my ornamentals’ survival was next to zero. I didn’t have the time in the fall, so I’m trying the best I can to get it done now. Last year I nearly emptied all three of my 75 gallon rain barrels, so I purchased an additional one this year. This year, they overflow! The extremes are frustrating!

Mother Nature is giving me a (yet another) lesson in patience.

I’m anxious to transform the front side area that has been a cottage style garden into a garden that offers both vegetables and attractive, complimentary annuals and perennials. I remember telling my editor about my front yard plans. She asked, “But aren’t you afraid of people stealing your vegetables?” I replied, “No, Fran. The zucchini will be right up front!” Poor zukes just don’t get no respect!

Actually, I do hope to share some of the bounty. My new neighbor will get some zucchini and cucumbers if she wants some, and I have children on my block who may want to discover the sweetness of sungold cherry tomatoes. My mission is to create an attractive garden that provides food as well as beautiful flowers and foliage. I’ve planted rainbow chard

around an obelisk of Cardinal Climber vine and French climbing beans around another. I found a place for Brussels Sprouts along the front picket fence. I’m still working on the landscape’s “bones, ” but later I’ll tuck in some Red Giant mustard seeds and other beautiful greens as accents.

My gardens have always been a canvas upon which I create new ideas. I never stop experimenting with plants in all of their forms, colors, textures and, now, tastes. Our challenge is to cooperate with Nature, run in between those raindrops, and create our vision. As Mark Twain said, “Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it.” As much as I would like to believe that I’m in control, I know better, Twain not withstanding.

Community Garden note: Wapahasa’s Prairie Community Garden still has some plots available. If you are interested in one (it’s not too late to plant!) contact Jan Taylor at mnherbster@gmail.com.



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