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August, 7

Do I dare to dream of spring?

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Do I dare?

Do I dare even get my hopes up that we may indeed be having an early spring and trust that we will roll right into a warm spring and a “normal” summer? 

You know the answer to that. I absolutely should not do that and yet I will. I am. 

This year’s winter was (see? I’m even using past tense) a cakewalk compared to the misery of the 2018-2019 winter. It never got that cold, we didn’t get that much snow and people weren’t as crabby as they usually are.

Before I go on, I think I should clarify here that warm winters in Wisconsin are not normal or good and both last year’s winter and this year’s are indicative of scary things happening with the climate. But I’m a long-suffering Midwesterner, you have to forgive me if I take a little enjoyment from the chance to be outside without a parka before May.

A fair amount of pruning has been done: spireas in desperate need of rejuvenation, Hydrangea paniculata and H. arborescens and, in an exciting development, a heading cut on the hornbeam hedge.

Since I planted the hornbeams, I’ve only done light branch pruning to help (successfully, I believe) them thicken up, but I’d resisted doing any apical pruning, even though I’ve been stewing about it. Fortunately I had a chat with garden designer Nick McCullough, who frequently uses hornbeams in his designs, at a symposium I organized a couple weeks ago, and he advised that hornbeams are reluctant to grow wider until you give them no choice by making a heading cut.

The next day I was on the ladder topping them all at 100 inches, which is shorter than what I’d like the eventual height to be, but right now the width is more important to me. 

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altIn the past week I’ve started panicking that I’m behind in my seed starting. Seed packets usually give a range of a couple weeks before the last frost to start seeds inside and, after last year, I was leaning toward the shorter end of that range. Now I’m having second thoughts and trying to catch up. 

But the ground is still frozen and the containers still have winter greens frozen in place, so at least nature is checking my enthusiasm.

And then there’s the little matter of photos I came across from last April 15 when we got about 6 inches of snow. 

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That’s when I tell myself: Cool your jets. It’ll come when it comes.

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