The snow has melted away, the greenhouses are covered and seedlings are pushing up, so it’s time to get the growing season underway! We will begin retail sales on Friday, March 15th, and be open Fridays 9-5 and Saturdays 8-12N through June. We added extra growing space and an additional greenhouse last fall so we should be less crowded this year. The species mix changes some from year to year. I’m growing more shrubs and trees than ever and have narrowed the range of wildflowers a bit to focus more on those that are best in landscaping, preferred in restoration projects, or that are special ones from our local area (Brown’s peony or Tweedy’s lewisia, anyone?)
The seeds of some species are quick to appear in late winter, even germinating under the snow (like the bitterroot seedlings seen above). Most of these quick starters come from low precipitation areas or from fast draining soils; the early growth allows them to take advantage of the soil moisture coming out of the winter, and some will later go dormant during the heat and drought of summer. Among the earliest to get growing are arrowleaf balsamroot, silky lupine, the desert parsleys, gray rabbitbrush, big sagebrush and bitterbrush (below).