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April is National Gardening Month. Is that perfect timing or what?
Right now my yard is a riot of color—the lush rose pink of the redbud, the sunny yellow of the forsythia and daffodils, the little patches of rich blue muscari and light blue starflowers, and the yellow dandelions and purple violets dotting my backyard (on purpose).
It seems like Spring took its time getting here—but it’s here. That doesn’t mean, however, that I’m not on guard against one of Mother Nature’s surprises—like the frost we got a few days ago!
They say our last “average” frost date is April 15th. The keyword is “average.” That means we have had last frosts before that date and AFTER that date. We’ve had frosts here as late as May 15th (just last year)! I’ve gotten burnt (well, actually, FROZEN) one too many times by planting too early.
I will not commit tender flowers and veggies to the ground before the first week in May. If you like wrestling with row covers or throwing sheets and blankets over plants in your yard, go for it. I’m sticking with the lower stress road. And after last year’s surprise frost in mid-May, this year I’m going to check the long-range forecast even then!
One thing that I am doing now is one last check for winter damage and clean up the rest of the twigs that dot my flower beds from one of our several ice storms this past winter. Still, I consider myself fortunate—I’m not having to cut down a dead lemon tree in my backyard like my niece in Houston!
Yes, gardening can have challenges, but the joys a garden brings are beyond words.
As a matter of fact, I read an article on livescience.com that says there is actually scientific evidence that there are beneficial bacteria (mycobacterium vaccae) in the soil that stimulate neurons in the brain responsible for serotonin production. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is believed to be responsible for feelings of happiness and well-being.
This theory was tested on lab rats and the results were increased cognitive ability and lowered stress! Sometimes, maybe all we need to do to boost our mood is get our hands dirty! And spring is the perfect time to do that!
Stop by the Great Big Greenhouse to pick up some serotonin-creating plants to beautify your yard and make it your own personal “happy place”.