Is it possible to catch spring fever in January?

January 12, 2010

By Jane Garrison

If you are a gardener, you probably get a massive case of spring fever every year. The funny thing about it is how early in the year it hits us.Last fall, I remember how pleased I was to do a final yard cleanup — clean out old plants and leaves, and put the garden to bed. I gave a big sigh of relief and came in the house hoping to forget about the pressure from the endless issues outside.

Then, I got curious. When does spring fever start, and is it so illusive that you can make it happen when and if you want to? So, I went out and walked around the yard in early December, and no, spring fever wasn’t there.

Then, I checked it out just before Christmas, and I could sort of feel it. I saw big buds on the hydrangea vine and on the star magnolia — not enough to push me over the edge, though. I checked out the yard just before the new year, and I could see the sedum autumn joy breaking the surface of the ground. A spring fever ripple, but I was not there yet. A couple of moles in my yard are feeling it, and they might beg to differ with me.

The Territorial Seed Co.’s catalog just came, and that produced a shudder and gleam in the eye. Catalogs are good resources for gardeners. They come at this time of year when you have time to study the good pictures and Latin names, both inspirational and educational.

Good national catalogues include:

4White Flower Farm: beautiful pictures and reliable names of growing plants in the ground.

4Wayside Gardens: nice pictures, but with a focus on flower rather than form.

4John Scheepers Inc: with pictures of all sorts of bulbs.

4Roots & Rhizomes: a lot of pictures of interesting and unusual perennials.

4Steffen’s Clematis: pictures and good growing information, including bloom times.

Good regional catalogues include:

4Edmund’s Roses: beautiful pictures of roses that are grown here for us.

4Territorial Seed Co.: vegetable and flower seed and plants that grow here, with a lot of information.

4Raintree Nursery: wonderful resource for edible plants that will grow here and more information on how to grow them.

If that doesn’t get you going, then check out your yard or the parks. The daffodils will be coming up in my yard by the first of February, and that will really cinch it for me. The peonies will push big, healthy, red buds up through the soil soon. When I see that, I’ll be the victim of spring fever from then on.

I just couldn’t make spring fever happen earlier than scheduled, but I know I’ll be checking out nurseries in January, when I should wait until April or May. I know better, but I just can’t help it.

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