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Lawn and Garden

May Flowers

by Andrew Jozwik
Johnny Appleseed Greenhouses

(click for larger version)
05/01/2013 - This year it looks like April showers really will bring May flowers. Those two large snowstorms made all the plants stay dormant longer than usual and made driving difficult. Although those big snows slowed the coming of the growing season they really gave the plants around your yard and in your pastures a big boost.

Last year was so dry that the range grass didn't grow and was very stressful on trees and plants that didn't get supplemental water. One way that the dryness was apparent was the amount of dust blowing around this fall and winter. The ground was so dry that once the winter winds came there was an overabundance of dust for them to pick up.

In my job I get to dig a lot of holes, so I get to see close up how dry the ground is. This spring was like none I had ever seen. Usually the spring is the easiest time to dig a hole, but this year the ground was still totally parched and hard as a rock. The good news is that the two large April snowstorms soaked into the ground well, even to 2-3 feet deep in some areas. The bad news is that last year depleted the soil moisture so much that anything below that is still dry as a bone.

So hopefully we will still see some rains as we go through the spring. May is the beginning of the planting season in Casper. If you haven't tilled your garden and gotten ready yet, now is the time. By about May 15th it is a good idea to start planting your seed crops. Most seeds germinate in between 5-10 days, by planting them on the 15th you will get a good head start, and by the time they germinate there will be little chance of frost. In Casper though it is well known that we can have a frost clear up to the first of June, but the odds are in your favor, and if we did have a late frost you can cover your young plants with plastic or a sheet and keep them safe.

As I mentioned earlier the end of the month is the safe frost date, so Memorial Day is usually the kickoff for the season. Then it is safe to plant most everything. That weekend can't come soon enough for us at the greenhouses. As I write this article I can hear the greenhouses groaning because they are stuffed so full of plants they are ready to burst. I imagine they feel a lot like I do after dinner on pizza night.

This year there are many new colors and varieties of flowers that I am excited to show everyone. Every year there are some combinations we make at the greenhouse that really make me excited and most years the color combos I like the best are ones that really slap me in the face. By that I mean flower combinations that are super vivid and bright. This year my favorites so far are some special order planters that we made for a couple who take advantage of our custom planter program each year. They do a beautiful planter display at their home each year, and this year will be the best yet. Although I regret to say that I can't take the credit for the colors this year. The customer led the way on the color choice and all I can say is that it turned out unreal! The colors are black, lime green, yellow, and the deepest richest red we have to offer. This color combination might sound pretty bright and unusual, but let me tell you when I first saw them after they were built I was blown away. All the custom pots we do are beautiful as we can make them, but this color combination seared the surface of my brain. It is so bold and bright that it makes me want to look at them all day. Call me what you will, but seeing a planter loaded with burning colors like that really gets me going. For me it's the same as when a Harley rider twists that throttle and lets that engine roar. If I saw a Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am surrounded by these flowers I might just have a heart attack. (My wife will be rolling her eyes when she reads this.)

You're probably wondering where these pots will be going on display… Well, I can't tell you now because I wouldn't want to endanger my customer's privacy. But come see me in person and I'll point you in the right direction. I hope you all have a great start to the season, and that all your flowers excite you as much as these excited me.

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