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The time right before New Year’s is often a time for reflection on the past year and the year ahead. It’s only fitting that my last blog of 2018 would be just that! We’re reflecting on the gardening season we had and offering our thoughts – it has certainly been an interesting gardening year with its fair share of challenges, and there is plenty to be excited about as we head into 2019.
I have been in the retail garden center business for over 40 years and have never experienced too much of a good thing when it comes to rainfall. Here we are just a few days from the new year and we have had over 62.36 inches of rain so far in 2018. This rain total is the third most for our area in over a hundred years and it’s over 20 inches above our normal rainfall for a year. We may get to number 2 because we have rain in our forecast for this coming Friday. And, SURPRISE – we can get rain on January 1st. As a fellow gardener, it is hard to complain about rain – especially when we have had years whereby we faced drought and water restrictions. With this said, all this rain did bring challenges. Many of our plants suffered or died because of the high water table. And, I am not talking just about the newly planted plants this year. Many well-established plants such as rhododendrons and laurels suffered because they were not able to dry out between rainfalls. Vegetable and herb gardening was challenged this year with the rain. Some popular summer-blooming annuals, such as Vinca, rotted in the ground. The positive with all the rain is that our rivers, streams, reservoirs, and underground aquifers are all full as we head into winter. This is a good thing as we look at gardening in 2019. Bottom line, we can only hope that rainfall continues in the coming months but maybe somewhere in the more normal amount.
Do you believe in the Old Farmer’s Almanac? According to the 2019 Almanac, we are to have a warm and wet winter followed by a cooler spring with precipitation below normal. The summer of 2019 is to be cooler and wet followed with fall being near normal. I think I like the Old Farmer’s Almanac forecast for us in 2019. Let’s hope it comes true.
Certain gardening trends were strong in 2018.
It was heartening to see so many customers excited about native plants. Many customers were eager to build their own butterfly gardens; Asclepias, the native butterfly weed, and Buddleia, butterfly bush, were very popular in 2018.
Another popular garden trend is vegetable gardening. More and more people are wanting to learn and grow some of their own food. People want to control the use of pesticides on their food and be more organic.
Helping to support and protect our honey bee population is another growing concern. Gardeners are becoming more concern about the use of harmful pesticides that are killing our bee population. And, more and more gardeners are planting plants that help support our bee population.
And, speaking of all things natural, organic fertilizers and natural pest sprays were frequently sought after by our customers. Myself, the staff, and customers are more conscious than ever of the impact our decisions as consumers can have on the environment. All of us are trying to be safer with our selected use of products. This is a strong trend that I think will continue to be strong in 2019.
If there is one thing that I have learned to expect when it comes to gardening is that there will always be challenges to face with our gardening and landscaping. Never take Mother Nature for granted!!
Here at The Great Big Greenhouse & Meadows Farms Nurseries, you can expect us to continue to expand our selection of vegetables and fruit. Think about edible landscaping. Edible landscaping is simply planting or replacing landscape plants with plants that flower and continue to produce fruit during the growing season. Simple example – if you want a flowering tree then consider a fruit-bearing cherry or peach tree. You get flowers and edible fruit off of one plant. To me, this is a no-brainer.
Also, you can expect us to continue to carry more native plants in shrubs, trees, and perennials because of the growing demand.
And, we will expand our selection in organic products. Homeowners and landscapers are becoming more and more consciences with the use of pesticides and herbicides while looking for safer alternative products.
Happy Gardening in MMXIX