March right into the garden and start your growing season.

Garden Enthusiasm


Long, Cold Winters

The biggest question for many of us gardeners, all across the country, will be, "What's the damage?" I wrote about the extreme frigid temperatures we had, along with the rabbit sightings, but left unsaid is the concern that we will have deer and rabbit damage to trees, shrubs, and bulb beds from hungry critters. My cherry trees will likely exhibit some frost cracking in the bark from the temperatures, too.

If we have questionably hardy plants in our gardens, then it will be sometime in May before noticing a "failure to thrive". In the past, some chestnuts that I lost to a particularly cold year, fooled me by leafing out in spring. I learned it was a common thing to happen, and sure enough, they did not make it as temperatures rose.

This is what to watch for in your gardens, prune or replace as necessary. Nothing to be done for tree bark cracking (also called bark splitting or frost crack), although there are preventions.


How many times do I forget I have a newsletter?
I had one almost finished for the new year... forgot to send it when holidays got going. This one... I wanted to send it out in February, but was waiting until I had made another installment in the garden guides. That didn't happen. Two new pages and some posts have been managed. Lots of gearing up in the social media scene. Some new directions on Squidoo.

So I have been busy. And there will be better scheduling attention paid to this newsletter. What you won't get here is inundation. I won't go overboard (like I do on Pinterest!)


Garden chores report
Of course you want to know about GARDEN topics, not just the insides of twitter and Pinterest. Although I have to say that Pinterest is one of the best ways to find good tutorials and container plantings ideas.
That, however, is not gardening.

As I reflect on last year, the best things I did were to buy a DeWit cape cod weeder (they should pay me for the way I gush about it) and to buy a bunch of new tulip bulbs. After so much horrid cold I worried that I didn't' plant deep enough. We'll see.

I want to plant many more bulbs this fall. You don't realize how important they are to "garden love" until you go through a winter like this last one.
  • Make notes this spring of what and where to plant bulbs this fall.
  • Spring is a good time to edge garden beds- makes everything look neater all summer.

This week is warming up and if the veggie patch isn't yet ready (dug,and raked), then it is a good time to smooth the earth and get it ready for cool season vegetables like the lettuces and chard I love to plant.

Here in Ohio still no sign of farmers in the fields.


What's happening on the sites?

I am also trying to share more of the backend info for those who are blogging. Most of that is finding its way slowly to the WebHelp Page.

Do you Twitter? Pin?

Since I have learned loads this past month and been changing how I work in social media, like Pinterest and Twitter, there will be new posts to share what I am learning. I am doing better on Twitter and gaining some new followers. Mostly because I have been posting more regularly to twitter than before. I do have a pet peeve.

I think Twitter is more about conversation, and those who say it is primarily about posting something of a feed of your work- well, I don't like that. I do post more of my posts and Zazzle and Squidoo stuff than at first, but if there is too much it sort of ruins the nice thing about getting to know other people online. JMO. I'm even trying to cut back when I notice something auto feeds to twitter, like some pinterest  pins. Still trying to get steady in how all this works. Oh. If you are interested in this column, I found  cool graphic that spells things out.

My daughter cooks up great recipes she finds on Pinterest. Her husband made their dining room table from plans she found on there. I like the ideas and daydream excuse it gives me. My husband doesn't even know what it is, although he is fairly addicted to Facebook now.

Perfect Posts for Social Platforms 

This year I will plant

Gourds, again. It's been a few years, and I want some more, and perhaps different kinds.

I am going to try again to propagate my roses. I so want to succeed in doing this (like my mother did). If I succeed, I be writing some posts about it, to share the wealth. I found a tip in Pinterest: start the pieces of cane by sticking them in old potatoes. See it here. I mentioned.
Veggies- Tomatoes and peppers
Herbs-Parsley and marjoram
More strawberries.

If you would like to tell me about your plans or what you think about anything garden related, and post pics of your gardens, etc. Please join my Ilona's Garden Facebook page. I wish I could interact more on that page with readers.
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If you like the newsletter or any of my pages, please do share them.

Link for Ilona's Garden Facebook Page



Spring Lamb Stew

While you are working in the garden, this stew is simmering and waiting to be eaten with a chunk of good whole grain bread and a salad of arugula or baby greens (maybe from your own patch).

Lamb Stew

  • 2 tablespoons butter or oil
  • 1 pound lamb stew meat
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 12 boiling onions, peeled
  • 5 medium russet potatoes, peeled, quartered
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 10 small bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 cups canned beef broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Melt butter, or heat oil, in heavy large Dutch oven over high heat. Season lamb with salt and pepper.

Add lamb to pot and sauté until brown, about 5 minutes. Add flour and stir 2 minutes. Add onions, potatoes, carrots, bay leaves and thyme and stir 2 minutes. Add broth and bring to boil. (Add vermouth if you desire)

Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until lamb and vegetables are almost tender, about 1 hour.

Uncover stew and simmer until gravy thickens and lamb and vegetables are very tender, about 15 minutes longer. Add parsley.(Add the peas, now, if desired).

Season stew to taste with salt and pepper.

*you may want to add 1/2 cup vermouth to liquid, a parsnip, and a 1/2 cup of peas at the end of cooking.

Good Links

Sites of some people I met last year at the Garden Bloggers Conference
Growing With Plants

Oh Grow Up

Studio G

Tools I Like

An edger is not one of those tools you absolutely need, a straight sided garden spade will do the job. But as with most specialized tools, a half moon edger is tailor made for the job at hand, in this case making nice neat cuts all along the flower beds.

This is a first line defense against the intrusion of weeds, and nothing looks more crisp and well cared for than a freshly edged planting bed.

There are motorized tools that do this job, but I have never used one, and I have had large beds that required spring and fall attention. The half moon edger makes quick work of it, slicing straight down, then rocking, moving right along the line of the borders.

I keep a wheel barrow nearby and toss the slice of soil into it. Hauled off to fill in low spots, add to compost piles, or piled to make some useful soil amendment.
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