“Is it really spring?” This is the question most of us have been asking ourselves and others. “Yes, it is spring, folks!” I know the cool temperatures and the cloudy skies have been putting a gray cloak over spring this year but don’t despair. Let’s look on the bright side, shall we?! What are the advantages to the cooler, wet weather? Are there any? Of course, there are. Here goes, I am going to try and make you all feel a little bit better.


Advantage #1: With clouds, comes the rain. We have had lots of rain. This is a good thing friends. We have been struggling with moderate droughts for 2 seasons now. The rain is bringing us super green lawns, deep root growth on all of our plants, and saving us some time when it comes to watering our outdoor pots.

Advantage #2: We may not have as big of a gypsy moth problem this year. For the last 2 years, gypsy moths have been devastating our big oaks and many more because our springs have been so dry. This year, the rain will hopefully kick up the NPV virus and naturally eliminate some of these voracious eaters.

Advantage #3: The prolonged, cool weather has extended our grass seed & sod laying time. Grass thrives at this temperature. The rain has helped tremendously with the establishment. Keep sowing that seed. You still have time.

Advantage #4: Planting trees, shrubs, roses, and perennials are ideal in this weather. The cool temperatures and rainy days will really help plants establish themselves before the hot weather sets in. Keep planting!

Advantage #5: The cooler temperatures make it so much easier to work in. You can actually plant and mulch and weed without breaking a sweat and getting dehydrated. Take advantage of these cool days.

Advantage #6: Critters, such as chipmunks and squirrels are a little slower to wreak havoc in our gardens. I know they are waking up but they are still a little slow. Now is the time to start putting repellents out before they get too crazy. Start training them now to stay away in the future.

Advantage #7: Insects are just coming awake. There have only been a few aphids and lily leaf beetle sightings. Be proactive and arm yourself with the appropriate insect controls. You could even spray your garden down with Horticultural Oil and eliminate a lot of insect problems before they even start.

Advantage #8: You have plenty of prep time. Prep your veggie garden with lime, compost, and even a little green sand. Wake up the soil and get it ready for those tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers.

Advantage #9: Everything is a little slower to bloom this year but when they do, they will delight our eyes. Now that is a treat worth waiting for.

Advantage #10: Without the cold and rainy days, it would be more difficult to appreciate the warm and sunny days.

Patience really is a good thing. We spend so much time racing around and we want everything right away. “Good things come to those who wait.” Maybe that is the lesson Mother Nature is trying to teach us this cool, cloudy, rainy spring.

Come see us at Van Wilgen’s, where so much is already in bloom. We would love to help!

I don’t know about you guys but this is a smack in the weather-reality face. We have been experiencing such a mild winter and spring-like temperatures but then bitterly cold days and now SNOW! There is one good thing about snow, it is a natural insulator. Any plants that have started to break dormancy will have a nice blanket to protect them. My dad always says March snow is like the poor farmer’s fertilizer. The ground has a chance of slowly soaking up the nitrogen and micronutrients that the snow grabs on its way down from the atmosphere. That’s the upside! My daughter Nora has especially been loving the warmer weather, she has been going to the park almost every day. So what do you do with a very active toddler when it is too cold or snowy to head to the park? Well if you are Nora, you get to run your heart out in the greenhouse! My wife and I bring her to the garden center and set her loose. She loves to run around being “chased” by mommy and daddy. Nora has also made friends with our greenhouse manager Darlene who lets her feed the Koi fish. Nora had a funny little surprise hiding in among the pottery this weekend, a chipmunk! It was so hilarious watching Nora trying to find the chipmunk as it ran from one stack of pottery to the next, Nora even laid face-first right on the floor looking under benches. The chipmunk snuck back outside- much to Nora’s disappointment! ‘Where chipmunk go?’ was the question of the day. One thing is for sure in the Van Wilgen house, we are all ready for spring to sweep in for real! If you are like us and looking to get out of the house, we have planned a fun-filled weekend for everyone, no matter what the weather! See you this weekend!
As for our special guest…

Dr. Allan Armitage will be joining us for our Perennial Rose Rally! Allan wrote the handbook for

perennials and is full of useful plant knowledge. The VW team sat in on a talk with Allan last fall and we enjoyed it very much. Anyone from the beginner to even the most perennial gardener will get a plethora of great information and no shortage of stories. So for the clues, Allan worked at the University of Georgia alongside Dr. Dirr. It is pretty amazing that 2 huge horticulturalists worked on the same campus. Two, if you have seen me in person or in a photo, I almost always have my signature hat on. Three, I grew up in Canada and received my B.S. in science from McGill University, as they say or just maybe just Dr. A says, the Harvard of the north. We are very excited for June 3rd!

Ryan Van Wilgen