This early June morning came with a surprise that really should not have surprised me when I looked at the thermometer and read 39.2°.

It’s already a bright, clear morning that’s dripping wet from a heavy dew that formed last night as the temperature fell from yesterday’s high 70s. Today will be a nice workday but by Wednesday the temperature will be intolerable by noon with thunderstorms by afternoon. As I begin to write, I have two visitors sharing the morning with me. Below my office window is a very large, single, hare (Lepus americanus), sporting its brown summer coat. In my younger years, these were always called “jack rabbits.” In the field below my window is a young doe deer with what I guess is her first fawn. They are enjoying a breakfast of clover. The fawn is very entertaining as it struggles to get through the deep grass and keep up with its mom.

Much has changed in our world and the world of gardening in the past several months. Millions of people nationwide have turned to gardening as a result of Covid-19 and this is the largest change since the Victory Gardens of World War II. Since we opened the flower farm for a new season on Mother’s Day weekend, we have encouraged many people to be successful gardeners. Hundreds of people have stopped by asking for advice and we have helped design gardens, explained soil preparation, and have suggested resources to make their new endeavor more of a success.

Whether adding to existing gardens or developing a new space to enjoy, any garden will bring a gentle peace to your daily life. We sell over 500 different daylilies and recommend them to beginning gardeners because they are foolproof and dependable, they are easy to plant and they come in every color but blue. Some varieties begin to bloom around Memorial Day and others bloom on into late September. They come in heights from 14 inches to six feet tall and provide you with an opportunity to use the taller ones to provide a natural privacy screen. If you add some heleniums or helianthus to the mix, you can add more height and width and make even a small area more private.

If the area you choose to develop is shady, many plants do well in four hours or less of sunshine. If you have space you can add some of the larger plants and create a Jurassic feel to a quiet space. Large hostas, actaeas, veronicastrums, ferns, thalictrums, pulmonarias, tall astilbes, rodgersias, astilboides tabularis can provide a nice backdrop of color, texture, height and width that can serve as a place for chairs and side tables too.

We offer advice that comes with a lifetime of experience. We can rule out plants that you might want to try, but probably will not be successful in your chosen site based on sunlight, soil type, surrounding shade, or moisture content of the soil. We have an assortment of demonstration gardens that we are willing to walk with you to give you an idea of what we have been successful with. For 2020, we are finishing up a 10 foot by 60 foot pollinator garden, which will demonstrate plants that are popular with bees, birds, butterflies and moths. The garden should be finished by the time you read this and the plants should be attractive to you and pollinators by August. Come take a look.

Last week, I had the opportunity to meet a customer from a few years back who came back to thank me for a garden I helped design. The man’s wife had a terminal disease and he wanted a space they could both walk to each day to view the changing blooms as her life changed. I suggested a small garden not far from the back door so as her illness progressed, she could see the garden from the house if travel outside became difficult. Good or not so good, I’m not an emotional person but the thank you made me shed tears as the man told how nice the garden worked until his wife’s passing. I’m sharing this experience to encourage you to consider developing a place within your property that can serve a similar purpose.

Covid has taught us that there are things in the world than are bigger than any of us. Sometimes the peace of a garden, the song of birds, the buzz of bees, or the flight of a butterfly remove bad thoughts and help us through another day. We cannot change the virus, but think this through and let us know if we can help out with your gardens. We’re always here to help you grow your green thumb!