Success! I have milkweed seedlings, both Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) and Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). I'm pretty sure that I went to high school with a guy nicknamed "Swamp Milkweed," but I was still a bit intimidated because I recently read "The Great Milkweed Germination Test" on the website (Sowtrueseed.com) from which I bought my milkweed seed. Talk of stratification makes my eyes glaze over and I had already bought my seed when I read the article. Throwing caution to the wind and being a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl, I just planted them as I would tomato seeds. I planted them on 2/8 and I would say about half of the seed I planted had produced a seedling. They are spindly, narrow seedlings, but seedlings nonetheless, I'll take it! Also planted on 2/8 is my white yarrow (Achillea millefolium).
I thought that if cleaned up the nursery and do my best to make it at least presentable for my spring customers, it would somehow lure spring to come earlier. My logic is infallible, right? At least for a gardner, it is. I saw a daffodil that had bloomed in my back yard but by the time I had my wits about me enough to whip out my phone, it was pitiful. I DETEST winter. I'm not a Christmas person for reasons I would never burden another human being with. The only comfort I have is knowing that winter is necessary to bring many of the wonders of spring, the circle of life and whatnot, blah blah blah. If there is not a sustained hard freeze, peonies won't boom, and we can't have that. This whole winter nonsense is almost worth the peony bloom. The remind me so much of my grandmother, from whom I got the gardening bug...a disease really...it truly is. Lewis Gannit wrote, "Gardening is a kind of disease. It infects you, you cannot escape it. When you go visiting, your eyes rove about the garden: you interrupt the serious cocktail drinking because of some irresistible impulse to get up and pull a weed."
I always say that I will journal a year in gardening. It is a lot of hard work, and I don't mean just my own personal gardens, which is exhausting in itself: turning a tomato seed into a 4 foot tall plant for your gardening pleasure is a lot of hard work, and I do it all for love...love for my plants, for your love of plants, to support my family, and to turn perfectly rational human beings into gardeners.
This, my friends, is a hot February mess.
This is what I'm looking forward to, you can see why I'm excited!
Kristy Taylor is the owner/operator of Taylor Family Greenhouse. She a Master Gardener for Union County, a member of the NC Native Plant Society and has gardens that are certified wildlife habitat but more than anything else, a lover of all things that grow.