“Holiday” Gardening


I am not sure that I have ever talked about this before but this is an idea that I used when I worked in retail gardening and I still use it for myself as a handy “marker” to remember important things. I often talk about it in my lectures.

What am I talking about? Well, I key important things in the garden to regional or national holidays. And of course, this is not original to me.

The famous fertilizer company “4-step plan” is based on something similar–the concept of phenology, of when plants bloom.

I found, however, that folks had no idea when plants bloom (or in some instances, what the blooming plants referenced by the fertilizer company were!)

So I changed it up a bit. Here in the United States, everyone knows when Income Tax day is (April 15) or that Mother’s Day is the second weekend in May. Memorial Day is the last weekend in May.

For us here in Connecticut, the lilacs (above) bloom at Mother’s Day. It’s true even in this exceptionally cold spring. So that’s a good marker for folks.

There are some particularly nasty sawfly larva that come out some time between Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, depending on temperatures. One skelatonizes rose leaves; the other attacks mugo pine. If I were to say “watch for these in May,” that’s pretty vague. But to say, “keep your eyes open between Mother’s Day and Memorial Day,” now folks have some idea of the timeframe to check their plants.

I even use it to remember that one of my favorite migratory birds, the catbird, usually returns around Mother’s Day. This year it returned May 6.

So “holiday gardening” can be helpful for reminders. And who doesn’t need reminders now and again?

4 thoughts on ““Holiday” Gardening

  1. lulu May 15, 2020 / 2:57 pm

    I’ve never thought about gardening quite this way, but I see how blooms can mark time.

  2. gardendaze May 15, 2020 / 3:40 pm

    That’s certainly true for us this year, isn’t it? I think most of us are only keeping track of time passing by what’s changing outside. I know that I have always thought that I was tuned into nature, but sometimes I am astonished at what has changed when I wasn’t quite paying attention. Our trees fully leafed out (a week late–but somehow I managed to miss it).

    Things just seem so unusual this year–even in the garden.


  3. tonytomeo May 16, 2020 / 9:41 pm

    Wouldn’t the seasons be too variable there?

  4. gardendaze May 17, 2020 / 6:05 am

    Surprisingly not as variable as they seem from my photos and posts. Although our “spring” was a full 3 degrees colder than average (and you saw all the snow!), the lilacs were right on time.

    The trees were about a week later getting to full leaf. And we’ll see about my pesky sawflies.


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