Articles by Jim Gainan

As published in the Billings Gazette

Growing Up: Fresh air, anticipation prompt ambitious gardening 'to-do' list

JIM GAINAN Growing Up | Posted: Sunday, May 2, 2010 12:00 am

This is part one of a two-part story. The second half will run in next week’s Your Home.

The last four weeks have been a blur.  It feels like the weather changed so quickly this year.  So much for simplicity and balance.  My "centered" moment this winter when I resolved to adapt a simpler approach to life and gardening is being challenged by the excitement and enthusiasm of spring.  A couple of warm days and the completion of some early spring rituals like turning the sprinkler system on have seduced me into a 'to-do' list that rivals any I've ever seen.  There's just always something to be done.

Rather than carry my 'to-do' list in my head for the next two months, this year I installed a dry erase board in my garage so that I have somewhere to keep track of all the little things that will make the most difference.  My gardening equipment is ready to go: lawn mower tuned up; tools clean; compost and bark purchased, stacked in the back.  Now what?

I decided that rather than put the cart before the horse and plant too early (like I did last year), that I was going to spend the weekend installing only the plants that can tolerate the possibility of a cold snap.  The remaining time would be dedicated to preparing the beds, power washing everything in sight and planning the annual plantings for next weekend. 

Jim Gainan is VP/Shareholder of Gainan's Flower and Garden Center in Billings.