At the mercy of Mother Nature

·2 min read

The Alberta motto of waiting until after the May long weekend to plant gardens proved yet again to be words to live by following a heavy spring snowfall and frost. But the owner of a local greenhouse says all is not lost for those green thumbs who planted early this year.

Joyce Swaren, owner of Blondie’s Gift and Garden Centre, said the trend of increased interest in gardening saw her greenhouse busy with people buying plants several weeks in advance.

And a few eager beavers who planted them ahead of last week’s foul weather.

“Everybody was so excited,” said Swaren of the anticipation of this year’s planting season.

But area gardens along with trees and shrubs appeared to have weathered the storm for the most part with the snow insulating many of the varieties of bedding plants and vegetable plants.

With the exception of tomato and pepper plants.

“If they look limp, they’re probably not going to recuperate,” said Swaren, adding, “if they look strong from the stem up, they’ll be OK.”

Perennials should be OK, along with most trees.

But Swaren says broken limbs from heavy snow should be pruned, with there still being time for regrowth for maimed apple trees.

If another frost comes, she suggested hosing down trees and shrubs the evening before as well as the next morning to protect from damage. And cover gardens with whatever is available during frosts.

If all else fails, Swaren says her greenhouse was prepared this year for what was already going to be a busy year for a new crop of COVID gardeners.

“There is lots of tomatoes, peppers and herbs still available,” said Swaren, who went out on a limb prediction that, “we’re going to have a nice, long summer.”

Alex McCuaig, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News

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