I'm not quite sure what the great Mr. Eliot meant by this; personally, I never liked February. For gardeners, though, especially this year, I think March probably has to be the cruellest month of all--teasing us with a little sunshine, a day of warmth here and there, and then laughing at us with a downpour, a hailstorm, or even one more snowstorm.
My friend Beckie of Dragonfly Corner and I have found the cure for this year's spring blues, though. We attended an open house and series of workshops at a local garden center today. What fun! We were greeted as we walked in by trays and trays of bright pansies in all colors .
Our first session was on adding whimsy in the garden, taught by a professor of horticulture at the University of Illinois. She entertained us as well as informed us, demonstrating her ideas with various plants selected from the center. I especially liked the idea that you don't have to plant masses of the same plant, as long as you repeat a color or mound shape. That reassured me because I tend to plant a variety of plants, because I'm always finding something new I want to try.
The second session was on "Shady Characters," a topic I'm particularly interested in since I added more space to my tiny shade garden last fall. Besides the usual hostas, she showed a variety of perennials and even a few annuals for shady spots. My favorites of the annuals had to be the primulas, which I assume have to be related to the primrose. Just look at this candy-pink flower! My camera doesn't do it justice; Beckie and I both commented that it looked as if someone had painted it.