Early Spring in My Wyoming Garden
Springtime in a Wyoming garden is all about patience. It may be warm where you are, but the snow fences just outside of town are harboring 4 foot drifts. There’s no snow left in my yard, but it’s still rather cool. This morning there was a bit of frost on my Dragon’s Blood sedums, and I had to run my car for a while to defrost the windows. On my way to work the temperature in my car said it was 25 degrees out. Brrrr!
Tough Growing Conditions
I live in Rawlins at an elevation of 6800 feet. We get about 9 inches of rain each year. We are in USDA climate zone 3. The wind here blows fiercely most days. On top of these tough elements for growing, the soil in my yard and garden is sand. If I don’t keep the ground covered as much as possible, any bits of organic material blows away, leaving only the sand. This is why I let anything sprout where it will, and I don’t clean up last year’s dead stalks until new growth is up pretty well. My front garden also slopes toward the south and is elevated 4 feet above street level. Using a temperature gun, I have measured the temp of the rocks in my garden at 134 degrees. Hot! I have to water every day or my plants just give up.
A couple of little Johnny Jump Ups are the only blooms I have going right now. They bloom very close to the ground this time of the year. In a Wyoming garden, the first Johnny Jump Ups are worthy of admiration. First, I admire them for their tenacity. Tiny as they are, they survived the winter in a somewhat exposed place. Also, I admire their courage. They pop up and bloom when the deer are desperate for anything green.
There are lots of little rosettes of salvia popping up all over the place. I started with several varieties and have allowed them to cross and spread as they will. It’s easy enough to dig them up if I need room for something else.
The big surprise for me this spring is that most of the chrysanthemums I stuck in the ground last fall are coming back. This is an entirely unexpected and quite welcome development.
There are also some sedums popping up. The deer love to eat them because they’re so…. succulent. This year I must move my catmint to a spot where its sprawl will be acceptable. Some of my yarrows are greening up, and the lilacs closest to the house have leaves budding.
At this time of the year I can’t tell the blue penstemons from the red ones. They all look great to me. The columbines are showing some leaves, while my Russian Sage is barely beginning to show fuzzy little growth buds.
We are likely to have snow and freezing weather still in April. I won’t plant my porch pots until the first of May, so I seriously have a whole month before I can really call it spring, and really start calling my place the Flower House. If I have flowers before that, I’ll let you know!