Getting A Jump On Spring-Indoors

By: Maggie Bonanomi

“The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The differencebetween them is sometimes as great as a month.” -Henry Van Dyke, 1852-1933

Henry Van Dyke must have visited Kansas City in the spring, which arrives on March 20 this year. We know it’s too early to garden but that doesn’t stop the need for green. There are many ways to bring in some spring without having a garden plot.

Why not create an old potting shed feel by gathering up old garden tools such as trowels, vintage flower pots, even an old pitch fork, even wood totes and tool boxes make great places to display what you’ve gathered. Make plans to go search for interesting garden related objects and create some fun vignettes, you will feel you have your very own potting shed and spring is already here.

I used some wire to hang the pitch fork on my wall and displayed an old feed sack and some baskets. I even found a child’s rake, an old scoop of some sort and an old watering can, tuck in a few potted plants and its immediately spring. Look for old gardening books and seed catalogs for great floral pictures.

Terrariums are another way to bring in some green, a glass container with or without a lid works fine. Old apothecary jars and unusual jars large enough to hold a few plants will work, an old fish tank, I even found a glass and metal cracker display tin and made it into a temporary terrarium with some pea gravel and a few plants, you want to be sure your container is water tight so you don’t have water seeping out.

Of course there are always seeds to plant and set along your windowsill, use old flower pots, it’s fun to watch them sprout. Marigolds and radishes are quick they sprout in about 5 days, if you haven’t found some old flower pot why not fill half egg shells with soil and plant seeds, use the egg carton to hold them, once they are big enough to repot just crack the shell and plant the whole thing, this is a fun child friendly project as well as a perfect recycler.

Garden centers as well as the farmers markets will have plenty of tender seedlings to buy. I do not have an actual garden but found an old wash tub makes a perfect kitchen garden, plant some rosemary, thyme, basil and parsley, even adding a cherry tomato plant when it warms up, everything is in one place. I added four thin straight branches tied at the top to stake and help contain anything that grows too tall. All you need is a spot where you get some good sun during the day, maybe a deck or balcony, These metal tubs come in all sizes and if they have a few holes in the bottom all the better. If you have only shade find out what shade loving plants would work for you.

Group fresh flowers in old medicine bottles set on top of a great vintage mirror or pin up seed packets you find to add a garden feel without the work of a real garden. Easier yet grow a sweet potato vine with a sweet potato in an old canning jar held in place with a few wood toothpicks, it will root and vine if given a window ledge, it seemed every kitchen in the 70’s had one growing.

As the days move to early summer your plants can be moved onto an outdoor ledge if you have one, if not continue to enjoy the plants on your window sill or kitchen counter, the days will grow longer and warmer soon enough and we will look for something else to do!

About Maggie: I live a short distance east of Kansas City in the wonderful small river town of Lexington. My hubby and I moved here in 2003, bought an 1841/45 house in one of the historic districts. I have gathered fun pieces to furnish my house, some antiques some fun vintage (primitive) pieces. I have a studio/shop on Main St. called The Purple Turnip where I design and sometimes teach rug hooking as well as wool applique and whatever else that strikes my fancy, recently it was paper daffodils since I did not plant any last fall.This time of year I am always looking for something that speaks spring to me. Gathering up my favorite garden related items is a quick way to feel I have a little potting shed and that I’m ready for spring, since I do not have a regular garden I “garden” in pots and urns and other containers. Nature continues to bring me inspiration, as long as I have a bit of soil and a few pots to plant in I’m pretty happy, well, I do still need some old textiles and a bit of wool but otherwise I pretty easy. See if some of the suggestions work for you or at least inspire you and give you that jump on spring that is usually needed this time of year. Enjoy! Life is good.