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Garden Reports and Rejoicing – February 22

It’s the time of year when gardeners get itchy. This is exacerbated in 2012 by the unusually mild winter we’ve experienced…everyone in the Northeast is already thinking spring. Let’s face it: sometime in mid-February what plant people call “winter interest” is no longer interesting. The landscape is brown and tattered and nothing would please us more than to move right from Valentine’s day to spring cleanup.

Unless you’re living in Georgia, or somewhere equally southern and warm, this isn’t likely so we have to settle for the next best thing. Gardeners make do with planning and advance plant buying and I’m doing both. Today I began to plan what I’m going to put in Annual Alley this summer. Last year it was blue, purple and white in honor of Jesse and Maya’s wedding. This year I’m leaning toward oranges and yellows, with dashes of blue and pink.

I have a hard time imagining this bed without ‘Blue Horizon’ Ageratum, so that’s pretty much a given. This year I also plan to go very heavy on the vining Nasturtiums and signet marigolds. Perhaps some of the low orange Cosmos as well…

Passionate travelers often say that planning the trip is as much fun as the travel itself. Cooks and foodies frequently enjoy reading recipes or menus as much as eating the actual meal. And I think that most gardeners would probably agree. Screw winter interest…let’s plan for spring.

Two years ago Annual Alley was filled with 'Blue Horizon' Ageratum, 'Cut and Come Again' zinnias, red Salvia and self-seeded Ammi majus.

I also used Marguerite sweet potato vine - which kind of took over in an appealing way. I'm thinking maybe the nasturtiums might do the cascading in 2012 so I've ordered seeds for a couple of different varieties.

The Ammi majus finishes in late July and I need to cut it out. I'm pretty confident that it will be back gangbusters this year, and I like having it as cut flowers early in the summer. Here's how the bed looked in 2010 once it was gone.

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