Binetti: Tips for getting an early taste of spring

Contributing writerJanuary 29, 2014 

09SpringYet_S

Crocuses are the best sign that spring is coming.

TONY OVERMAN — Staff Photographer Buy Photo

Here are five things to do to hurry up spring the next few weeks. 1. Attend the Northwest Flower and Garden show Spring arrives early this year as the Northwest Flower and Garden Show blooms in Seattle’s Washington State Convention Center Feb. 5-9. You don’t need to be a garden-lover to enjoy the design, color and fragrance of more than six acres of show gardens and hundreds of vendors, seminars and activities at this show.

I welcome all beginning and still-learning gardener questions at the show. I’ll appear from 2-4 p.m. Feb. 5-7 at a booth hosted by the Cascade Water Alliance. Bring me photos of your landscape or design dilemmas.

2. Dig up a sprouting crocus or snowdrop bulb from your garden and bring it indoors. Sometimes it is nice to fool Mother Nature and defy Father Time. You can even use a kitchen spoon to scoop a just emerging bulb from the damp soil. Place a bit of moss or gravel in the bottom of a teacup or mug and place your bulb, exposed roots and all inside. Now set this sign of spring on the breakfast table and watch the stem lengthen, the bud appear and the petals unfold – Ta Da! 3. Sign up for an early spring garden class.

You can attend classes at local nurseries before the daffodils bloom. Check my website at binettigarden.com for a list of classes and details. When you attend a class at the end of winter, you’ll be sure to make less mistakes when the spring planting season arrives.

4. Visit a public conservatory or a nursery with a greenhouse.

Both Tacoma and Seattle host bloom-filled conservatories in public parks, and Western Washington is full of retail nurseries that have plenty of growing room under glass. Forget the rain, the wind and the chill of winter – get thee to a greenhouse and breathe in the scent of the soil.

5. Dig into a good book with a garden theme.

Local publisher Sasquatch press has just released “Perennials for the Pacific Northwest: 500 Best Plants for Flower Gardens,” by Seattle author Marty Wingate.

“Fine Foliage” is another photo-rich guidebook by local authors Karen Chapman and Christina Salwitz. “Succulents Simplified” will inspire less water use in any garden and is written by California author Debra Lee Baldwin.

For quick projects you can do right now, thumb through “The 20-Minute Gardener” a companion book and do-it-yourself guide to the ever-popular Sunset Western Garden Book. Winter may linger for a while longer, but hope springs fertile all year long for gardeners who also love to read.

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