Showers?  …”bring May flowers” is the way I learned it as a child, and I guess this year holds true to that adage.  The flowers are prolific, whether they are the roses of our residential streets or the wildflowers at Helen Putnam and Shollenberger Park.  But I can’t remember a year when we also had such inclement weather into the month of May.  Although the actual rainfall may be minimal, the number of “rainy days” is starting to feel significant. 

Weather means more when you have a garden.  There’s nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans.  ~Marcelene Cox

I shouldn’t complain.  Compared to last year’s weather, I prefer seeing temperatures move up slowly and the additional showers help those of us without automatic watering systems.  Last year’s weather was either too cold, which slowed or stunted the growth of my warm weather veggies, or so hot that my cooler weather plants wilted before I could shade or move them. 

With our current garden only half finished, I recently picked up several flats of flowers and veggies to fill out some of the bare areas in our yard.  Thanks to my hesitation as to where exactly I want to plant these new additions, they have spent another sad day in their plastic trays on my patio.  Although the flowers and veggies are getting a good soaking with this rain, they are losing valuable days in the ground.  As soon as the sun shows itself again, I have promised myself that I will get into the garden.

I prefer to buy my annual supplies from one of our local independent shops whenever possible, but supplement my stock from the garden centers at CVS/pharmacy, K-mart and OSH. The big guys can be helpful if I want a large seed selection, seed starter trays or am in a hurry, but nothing beats the unique beauty, consistent selection, and master gardener tips I can glean from local institutions such as the Rose Garden Nursery, Cottage Gardens, and the relatively new “Seed Bank” in downtown Petaluma (Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co.).

For heirloom seeds, a wide variety of books, tools and other local wares, the Seed Bank can’t be beat.  Seed Bank’s manager has done a great job of transforming this Missouri based company into a true Petaluma fixture by offering local wares from soap to honey to quilts.  With a huge selection of both common and rare seeds your imagination and the size of your garden are your only limitations.  Last year I picked up seeds which produced a flavorful and uniquely colored fruit called a Tigger Melon.aa

If you are in search of organic plants, you can’t beat Cottage Gardens with its artistic layout, stunning clematis, and amazing handcrafted garden pottery and sculptures.  Many local nurseries stock Cottage Garden’s plants, but visiting their vast and colorful nursery in the trees above Petaluma Blvd N. makes for a nice afternoon outing. 

Just a few blocks south of the outlet mall, also on the Boulevard, is the Rose Garden Nursery, another one of my favorites.   With a great selection of veggies, flowers and trees coupled with convenient hours and very friendly service, the Rose Garden is a must visit for any of your gardening needs. 

So, if you thought you were too late to start your garden, I urge you to reconsider.  With our late rains, temperate climate and expertly staffed and stocked nurseries this may be the perfect year for procrastinators such as yours truly.

God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done.  ~Author Unknown

Keep an eye out for my next gardening blog, which will include an explanation of the terms “heirloom” and “organic”, as well as full reviews of the Rose Garden Nursery, Cottage Gardens, and the Seed Bank.

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