Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

My tomatoes are planted and now I have to worry about snow May 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 9:30 AM
Tags: , ,

Marguerite sweet potato vine, Rose Morn Madness petunias and a sun-loving coleus fill one of 10 flower pots in my back yard. These are planted in a calf pail. Former farm girls, you'll understand.

WHAT’S WITH THE WEATHER here in Minnesota?

First, April comes and goes with unseasonably warm temperatures and lots of sunshine. Now May arrives with temps so cold that snow and frost are in the forecast.

It seems many of us, including me, were tricked in to believing that spring had arrived. Like many Minnesotans, I’m now scrambling to protect the tender young plants I prematurely planted outdoors.

For days, I have been lugging heavy, flower-filled pots into the garage at night and back outside in the morning. In and out, in and out. It’s back-breaking work. But I’m not about to lose those plants to frost. So my husband and I haul the pots inside and cover tomatoes and flowers with buckets and blankets.

All of this could have been avoided if only I had listened to my elders. You see, on Sunday while shopping at the Faribault Garden Center, I asked a seasoned gardener if it was too early to plant tomatoes.

He advised me to wait until the end of May. Foolish me. I didn’t listen.

Last summer I was introduced to, and fell in love with, Diamond Frost. I like the airy look of this plant with the tiny white flowers. Here I've mixed it with a Contessa Purple (Black Magic) ivy geranium, pink Superbells and Quartz Creek Soft Rush grass.

My husband found this Easy Wave violet petunia. I love the blue tinge at the edge of the blossoms. It's the perfect fit for my favorite flower colors--purple, pink, shades of burgundy and yellow.

For height, I picked out a grass that will grow into waving purple plumes. The ivy will spill over the pot. And Burgundy Madness petunias add just the right splash of color in a huge blue pot.

I can't wait until all of these flowers are in bloom. I replicated a planting I saw at Donahue's Greenhouse in Faribault. Included are Sunsatia lemon nemesia, Superbells Yellow Chiffon, Lemon Symphony Osteospermum and Supertunia Citrus. All flowers are in varying shades of yellows. Just the names of the plants drew me to them.

I combined Rose Morn Madness petunias and sweet-smelling purple Heliotrope in this clay flower pot.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling