Six on Saturday – 21/03/2020 – A Sad Start to Spring

It’s hard to put into words what people around the world are going through right now, isn’t it? This is the time of year we garden writers normally send forth into the ether images of beauty and colour and re-birth and awakenings – things that are especially welcome where winters are long and cold. It seems almost blasphemous to celebrate such things this year. COVID-19 has left friends stranded around the world, scores of people dead or serious ill and many, many people (and countries) wondering how they will get through it all, financially and socially.

And yet, spring definitely has sprung, even here, finally, in Canada. Instead of listening to the news channel all day, I’m going to practice mindful self care – breathing running, getting out in the garden a little (after a welcoming day with temps in the mid teens yesterday, we’re back to normal, hovering a bit above zero today…), and looking at flowers and gardens from from the world. If you’d also like a bit of an escape from the ‘negative real world’ we’re living in, head on over to The Propagator‘s site, where dozens of gardeners will show you Six things in their gardens, things happening in the ‘positive real world’ this weekend.

1 – Seed Starting: If you’re going to start annual veggies or flowers indoors, generally we get planting mid to late March here. I have a new to me type of seed tray this year (shown above in the ‘featured’ photo) – this weekend I’ll be planting my tomatoes – an heirloom Italian with pleated shoulders (!!!) called Costoluto Genovese, and my favourite tomato for sauce, also Italian, San Marzano. Both were sent to me from Renee’s Garden seeds in California.

2 – While I’ll need to wait many months before harvesting the tomatoes, my first crop of the year is always plain old garden chives. They’re already springing up!

3 – A few perennials have also started to break dormancy, adding touches of colour and bringing dreams of summer, such as this Agastache ‘Licorice Blue:’

4 – Some perennials never really went dormant, even here. They just shriveled up a bit, lost a few leaves, but appear raring to spring into action, like these Sempervivum – Hens and Chicks:

5 – Of course, spring really is all about bulbs, right? A couple species (literally, two…) are blooming in my garden now, but a lot more have poked through the ground, like these tulips and daffs:

6 – Finally, the first flower of the year in my garden, always, is Galanthus – Snowdrops. I planted an extra hundred bulbs last October and I’m so glad I did. I have blooms a lot closer to the house now, in clumps large and small, and it’s been a real delight walking around , spotting them here and there. Perhaps another hundred this year? They’ve been in bloom for about a month now, but by the looks of things they may be at peak now so I thought I’d show a few again. No Social Distancing here, please!

That’s it from South Eastern Ontario today. Please, stay safe, everyone.


  1. These yellow French beans look tasty! I just sowed mine 3 days ago (not in the ground but in sets like my father did. They will be fine in a few weeks when the soil temperature will have gone up a little).
    Mine are ” Beurre Minidor”
    Aagastache and sempervivum pictures are really nice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This has been the year I learned the difference between snowdrops and snowflakes, and actually got to see some summer snowflakes. I’ve learned they do fairly well here, especially for those who are maybe 50-100 miles north. They certainly are a delight.

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  3. ‘Pleated shoulders’! Ha … I grow Cuore di Bue because my husband says it’s the best for pizza toppings. But the elegance of the shoulders is tempting me. What beautiful leaves the agastache has as it emerges – does it get through the winter with you?

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  4. Agastache is such a terrific plant and flowers all summer here, and Licorice Blue sounds like a very interesting colour – I’m looking forward to seeing some pictures when it’s in flower.
    How lovely to have all those snowdrops near your house. They are a picture.

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  5. Hey, Renee is my neighbor! (I know, I probably already mentioned that.) I probably tried all of here nasturtiums at one time or another. There might be new ones now. That hen and chicks much be tough to survive where winters are harsh enough to delay tulips and daffodils like that.

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      1. She used to send me free samples, and still sends me samples of new introductions to write about. . . . even though I rarely do. I used to get sweet pea seeds for my niece, along with all my nasturtiums.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m amazed you’ve got plants at this stage, considering your climate. That licorice blue is gorgeous. Does the foliage stay that colour?

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