Catch Me If You Can

Debra Knapke on the Spot at Chadwick Plant Sale!

It’s plant sale time and you will find me in the role of plant ambassador at the Chadwick Arboretum Sale on Friday morning from 8 to 11 a.m. I will be there to answer questions and find plants that will work in your garden. At 11:00, I will be a guest of All Sides with Ann Fisher on WOSU-89.7 and answer more questions.

One question I anticipate from listeners and sale visitors is: what are the effects of the record precipitation last year – 55-plus inches – plus the wet winter and spring?  In Central Ohio we are already 6” above normal for this time of year, and much of the Midwest is experiencing similar weather. My response will be: “Good question; let me consult my crystal ball.” Then I will relate what has happened in my garden.

One casualty of last year’s rain and wet winter was my thyme lawn. It looked approximately 95% dead on April 23rd when this picture was taken. It is slowly coming back, and I can now adjust the death toll to 85% dead. By this time in May I should see flower buds forming; however, I am happy to see any green leaves.

Thyme-less lawn

This spring may be different than what we think is the normal* spring, but I do want to remind you that Mother Nature has offered other mercurial springs over time. Last year, we had several “100-year rains.” Most of my plants made it through, but I lost several lavenders, some hens and chicks, and a few sages. The daffodils planted in that swamp were not especially happy and flowered less last year and this year.

In May of 2006, we had low overnight temperatures in the 30s which threatened the tomatoes and chilies in my vegetable gardens. Yes, those are newspaper hats.

And in 2009, we had freezing overnight temperatures (in the mid-20s) during the week of May 23rd.  You are looking at Remay fabric which is much easier to use than making 25 paper hats.

So my best advice is to wait, observe and mark the places where plants have disappeared. Then drive over to the Chadwick Plant Sale or to your favorite garden center and purchase replacements. This is where the old adage, “when you get lemons, make lemonade”, is very appropriate.

Wishing you a productive Spring!

P.S. – *normal is relative; happy to hear what you think is a normal spring.

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