Spring Dreams

ARE YOU A DAY-DREAMER? Me too. And right now, my thoughts — like yours — are drifting toward the things I’ll do and see when this horrific winter finally melts into spring:

I’ll set up my Joan Crawford-Approved Tomato Trellis

And plant an abundance of food in the Kitchen Garden.

Then I’ll spend a few quiet moments by the pond in the Woodland Garden

With a sensibly-sized strawberry daiquiri in my hand.

I believe one of these daiquiris has your name on it.

I can’t wait to have the boxwood trimmed (it’s a job I hire out)…

Or to inhale the intoxicating perfume of roses (that’s yellow ‘Graham Thomas’ pictured above).

Of course, I’m looking forward to opening the swimming pool…

And to hosting cocktail parties there. Cocktail parties where everyone puts their feet in the water.

Like you, I’m anxious to harvest the first heads of lettuce…

And to clip sprigs of lovage…

In order to make this awesome Lettuce & Lovage Soup.

I can’t wait to take you on a tour of the Serpentine Garden

Where we can sit on this bench and enjoy the cascading Phlox subulata in late April…

And the perfume of dwarf lilacs in May.

I’m dreaming about the zucchini I’ll pick…

And turn into these Angelic Zucchini Fritters.

In other words, I’m dreaming of old man winter…

Being kissed by spring.

And what about you? In the comments field below, mention some of the things you are looking forward to doing (or seeing) when winter finally…goes away.

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Related Posts:
Chive Pesto
A Walk in the Kitchen Garden
How I Smother Weeds with Newspaper


  1. Oh, Lordy, this post almost made me cry….I actually love winter, but this one is just about killing me! I just love everything about gardening. I love getting the beds edged. I love tidying up all the beds, getting everything ready to spring forth as the soil warms. I love taking delivery of that 10 cubic yards of sweet peat and spreading it carefully over all the sprouting perennials and knowing that everything is well nourished and protected for the season. I love all the spring bulbs, the bleeding hearts, and buds, buds, buds. I love setting out the cushions on the wicker furniture on my front porch and back deck, increasing the lounging space of my home two fold. I love throwing open all the windows and feeling the cross ventilation, scented with whatever heliotrope or hyacinths I’ve planted in my window boxes.

    I love it all. And this year, I can’t wait to see what my first foray into milk jug seed starting brings! All 24 jugs. Wheeeee.

  2. Thank you Kevin for the strawberry Daquari, my favorite. I look forward to sitting in the rocking chairs on our front porch sipping Daquari’s after work. Your lilac’s are gorgeous and I like your butterfly bush as well. We are still buried under feet (really feet) of snow here in N. Michigan but the promise of spring is in the air and on the songs of the few birds that have ventured back from the warm south. I enjoy your walks, give Lilly a pat for me.

  3. Larry gardner says:

    Look forward to all your posts and weekly articles

  4. The smell of my wisteria! Also, the new daffodils and tulips I planted last fall. All beautiful shades of green will be so refreshing when everything fills in in early May!

  5. I’m looking forward to getting the veggie gardens cleaned up, weeded, mulched and adding new raised beds in our soggiest areas. And I need to add new perennials to the flower beds. They’re getting kind of tired and need new color. I have some coupons to use at my favorite nursery in the next week, so that trip will be fun. And I found a bunch of OLD sweet pea packets in a variety of colors, dumped them all together, soaked them and then laid them out on damp paper towels to see what would sprout. Surprisingly a bunch of them did! Now I’m looking forward to seeing what colors and perfumes will come of it.

    C’mon SPRING!!!

  6. I just came inside from a garden tour, checking my lilacs’ buds, and went to your website–wonderful surprise! We are having such a yo-yo winter (60 then 5 then 60) I am worried about all of my shrubs. I can’t wait until the leaves start to show and I know who all survived. Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos–and now I’m strangely craving a margarita (wonder why).

  7. Can I visit your beautiful garden when the snow is finally gone? Yes, I see one of those daiquiris has my name on it!
    I have started my milk quart seedlings. I have 13 so far. I am hovering over them now the snow has finally melted and I can see them! I am excitedly waiting to see if they grow! Will let you know!

  8. Lee McLean says:

    Kevin, thanks for the tour and the drink. I may need another. By the way, don’t you just wuv wuvage?

  9. Melissa says:

    Wow what exquisite torture looking at those beautifully green pictures!! It seems as though I’m doomed to see white and gray and brown forever, although I know (hope?) Spring will show up at some point! I’ve got a question for you, did you ever try those kiwis that finally fruited? If so, how were they? I am contemplating planting a couple, but am curious as to their usefulness as an edible. Thanks!

  10. Hi Melissa – The hardy kiwi vines (one male, one female) produced hundreds of grape-sized kiwis. I found them to be a little more tart than tropical kiwis, but they were still delicious. No need to peel the shell — you just pop the whole fruit into your mouth. Just be careful where you plant — hardy kiwi is a powerful grower!

  11. I am still hoping there is something left in my garden after this winter! The deer have been voracious eaters coming right up to the front door. Even things they normally won’t touch have been turned to skeletons. I started my winter sowing, which is currently buried under a layer of snow, on my deck to keep it out of their reach!

  12. badger gardener says:

    What a lovely daydream! Looking forward to the first crocuses that start the parade. Before the sweetness of spring though we are going to have to endure the transition of snow to slush and the mud left behind. I need to get some new rain boots.

  13. I am looking forward to seeing and smelling my lilac bushes in bloom! My Jack Russell and I want to go sit outside, we are sick and tired of this winter.

  14. Sharon Barnes says:

    Started seeds inside for a hint of the promise of spring. Today I noticed little bits of green poking their heads up in the marigold pots. Will the snow be gone so we can prune the roses when the Red Soxs come back to Fenway?

  15. Diane TG says:

    Oh My Goodness – I could have written Tracy’s post! My first thought on finishing your Spring Dreams was – “I could just cry”! Yes I really do love winter (I’m a transplanted, waiting to go back, New Englander), but this winter has tried my patience. AND it’s my first attempt at winter seed planting so I’m dying to see if it really works. Thanks for the post, Kevin – and especially that gorgeous photo of lilacs (note to self – add lilacs to the “must plant” list)

  16. All of it! I miss all of it. Lilacs are one of my favorites. I will add to the list rhubarb.

  17. I am in Pennsylvania and still have snow in my backyard but there are little sprouts in my milk jugs, tiny tips of the crocus coming through the mulch and little bright green chive shoots poking through the dirt. Can’t stop Spring now! Makes me so happy!

  18. Like Tracy, your post made me want to cry. I have an ache in my soul for spring. I need to dig in the dirt and feel the sun on my face once again. I live in the Hudson Valley, NY, just like you, Kevin. I am always intrigued by your newsletter and look forward to it every week. This is the first year I started winter sowing and I’m dying to know if it worked! I still have a few packets of seeds left to plant. Is it too late? To get through the winter I’ve been enjoying my orchid collection. It helps to have something green to look at. Have you ever tried orchids, Kevin? They are wonderful!

  19. I spent the afternoon up here in the north Georgia mountains harvesting my remaining parsnips, and spreading a nice layer of compost on the beds in preparation for spring! You are a great inspiration and your perusing newsletter is a wonderful way to spend my Sunday! I think I will go and make some Cecina right now…

  20. I am also getting tired of that crazy winter weather. 5degrees, then it jumps to 40 or 50, only to drop back down below the 10 degree line. South Jersey Zone 6b. Last year really was taxing for us, one storm after another. Thank God Sandy did not hit us that hard inland
    Trying to get some tender annuals in my milk jugs today, some of the other ones, kales, broccoli, cauliflower, bachelor buttons cosmos and sweet peas are sprouting. Even my grandsons 2 jugs with his lettuces and flowers sprouted. He got his seeds from wintersown. Really was excited about them. Have to go. The “hungry lions”, my 3 Grands, starting to roar for breakfast. That smart stick immersion blender would be a big help.
    Ps. I just knew I forgot something, my Lovage seeds

  21. Can’t wait to see what happens in my new little garden. I moved from over three acres to a townhouse a few years ago and last year my children helped me dig up my little plot of grass so I could plant a lovely courtyard garden of shrubs, perennials and veges. I had such a wonderful summer planning tending my little garden and I’ m soooo excited to see how it will mature this year! I was lucky to have a beautiful lilac and peonies to start…..two of my favourites…..one of the ways I knew this was my new home! Spring bird song this morning in southern Ontario!

  22. I have been using the winter wisely this year doing projects that need to be done by spring. In May my honeybees will be arriving! I am so excited and a little apprehensive because I have never raised bees before. The bees need our help and I want to contribute. There is another reason for the bees, I am finally going to up my perennial business this spring and need all the help I can get from the bees. Winter has been long but it has given me some much needed planning time , creative time, and spiritual time. Right now I am working on carving my business sign out of a piece of hemlock plank, using some chisels and a hammer. I set up outside and work. It gives me a chance to look at nature, my snowshoe labyrinth and of course my snow covered gardens.
    “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, then our whole life would change.”

  23. This post made me cry. After 17 years of hard work establishing an edible landscape in my Chicagoland backyard, we are moving to Philly. We have been house hunting in the past few weeks and everything is dirty and cold and nothing looks like it will ever be beautiful again. I cannot seem to find a yard with enough space or enough sun. Who cares about the house! Starting over can be fun, a chance to do it right, but I will have to wait years to get enough pears to can, enough red currents to make jelly, enough blackberries to freeze for smoothies all winter long. Sigh. Are any of you Philly gardeners? We are looking to the western suburbs – near Valley Forge. I am looking for garden centers and gardening community. I will miss my crazy city gardener/canning/chicken keeping/farmers’ market groupie friends! At least I can take Kevin’s blog with me 🙂

  24. Anne in Vermont says:

    Will the daiquiris be available at the Open House?

  25. Beverly, zone 6, eastern PA says:

    I would give a lot to see a few daffodil tips protruding from the thawed ground, but alas the snow remains, in substantial amounts, and the view out every window is WHITE.
    But look!
    There’s a robin!

  26. Marilou says:

    I want to try that J. C. tomato trellis!

  27. Trudi Dido says:

    siiighhhhh. Thanks for showing the pix of days gone by and ahead of us . They certainly gave me hope. I’m In Ga where the crocus have blanketed one area with purple and it is so beautiful It’s too hot down here for lilac and I miss them . We had two story ones in Larchmont when I lived there 33 years ago.,but I do not yearn for the snow fall you have had this year. I’d be stir crazy by now Thank you for your idea of milk jug starters .They do give us something to enjoy.
    Sunday morning is my time with your weekly email .

  28. Beautiful pictures – I try to focus on the sunshine to get me through this long winter – thank goodness for sunshine; otherwise I would probably be committed. Fresh air and sunshine makes me see past the mud, snow, and ice; and focus on plans for the gardens.

    I too thank you for sharing your winter sowing since this is also my first year. Seeds and patience are not my forte but this winter for a long one so what the heck, try something new, save money, and see the little beauties pop up their heads; I can’t wait.

    At least today we changed our clocks, so we are well on our way to spring.

  29. I’m looking forward to my parade of crocus (if the squirrels don’t chew the blossoms off before I see them) and daffodils planted in my front yard beds. Then the iris and alliums to follow and then all the other perennials. The weatherfolk say we are to have temps. in the 40 degree range this week. All the snow looks silver in the sunlight from the frozen sleet layer on top of everything. I hope our spring thaw doesn’t bring flooding to many parts of MN, this year, as it could from the huge amount of snow we got this winter.

  30. Marilyn Purdy says:

    I’m looking forward to walking my basset hound without wearing woolen socks and long underwear. I can’t wait for the snow to disappear so that I can survey my perennial shade garden and plan for the coming year. I’m looking forward to the sun shining so strongly I have to put on my straw hat to work out in the yard. And I look forward to enjoying a glass of wine on the deck as the sun goes down.

  31. Mary Cowherd says:

    I have started lots of new Carnation seeds, Sweet William. seeds & Gladiola & Freesia bulbs. Hope to add a splash of colour on top tier of my garden with them .

    Started sweet Peas off, trying to decide where to have them climb ? Amongs my grape vines ??.

    Started salad seeds also sweetcorn, cauliflower, cabbages, tomatoes, peppers, fresh herbs,

    Watering the garden twice weekly now. Have a bit of winter weeding to get done from middle tier. Some pruning of fruit trees. Passing on new lavender plants I started from cuttings, to friends.

    End of March,will enjoy glass of shandy sitting in the sunshine at stone table out there, watching gechos, butterflys, Robins & listening to the thousands of wild bees that visit the garden for a drink. Smelling the orange blossom that fills the air with it’s perfume. Every evening watering the garden & whilst doing so, having a glass of chilled wine .

  32. Margie S says:

    I am waiting (semi-patiently) for any signs of spring on all the newly planted shrubs, trees and perennials I planted last fall. If the truth be told… I went more than slightly overboard at the garden centers last fall. Hopefully the bunnies didn’t over prune my 4 new Hardy Hibiscus plants or the 3 red knock-out roses, or the finely cut Japanese Maple tree, or the Eastern Redbud, or the pretty peachy-pink rhododendron (whose name has escaped me), the red rose on a standard or any of the other many perennials and shrubs that jumped into my car last fall at the nurseries and garden centers.

    Now I have my fingers crossed that everything made it through this long winter …I can’t wait for the scent of spring blossoms. The gold finches are back along with the robins and the cardinal pair, which I dearly love. Here’s to a wonderful long (fingers crossed again) Spring!

  33. Paula Wolff says:

    Thank you for such a lovely post. With all the snow still on the ground here, it will be a while before we see your garden like it looked last summer.

  34. Elaine ransom says:

    Wow, a few bare patches of ground now with a fast thaw! How do the bluebirds know? We saw the first ones on Friday AS USUAL. With just these few days of above freezing temps. My leanto greenhouse is waking up. Me too.spring comes late in the B.C.rockies.

  35. I am desperate for less clothes, to be able to leave the house without a 10 minute process. I want some green. No crocus for us, the squirrels ate all 30 of them. But I do have some tulips, gotten from the city of Chicago for free, to pop up in our front yard. I miss the breeze, the one that doesn’t hurt.

  36. Gretchen says:

    I don’t have much hope for the milk-jug seed growing idea for this year…….thanks to a family of maurading racoons investigating the possibility they were toys put out for them to play with. But I do have three trays of African violet leaves and separated crowns thriving in the greenhouse so I can still dream. Yesterday I loked out at a little patch of ground that is no longer snow covered and was delighted to see snowdrops in bloom. As much as I love winter and the snow that comes with it, I’m ready to put this one in a box and get on with spring and all its potential. Love your posts and thank you for the dreams you help us to enjoy,

  37. Wish we had a winter and a fall. Summer seemed to have been 9 months long last year and looks like it will be that way again.

    Sadly CA is in a severe drought, so I am cutting back on my vegetables (not that I was too successful last year!) So Two Tomato plants, leeks, green onions and I am STILL trying to grow lettuce. But hey my Spring bulbs were lovely in February! My summer bulbs look like they will be lovely in April.

  38. Kevin – this winter has just about done me in. Too long and cold. I can’t wait to get outside and plant my geraniums and have lots of color. They say it’s the “absence” of color that does us in in the winter. I believe it. Love your great recipes too. I’d like my garden to look like yours by the way. lol

  39. A decent day in the PNW today. Just popped in to grab the pea and spinach seeds! From Territorial, of course.

  40. Marsha L. says:

    Still dreaming of seeing the ground again in Connecticut… the greenery I’ll save for the following week dream and any color for next month…. maybe a crocus or two?

  41. Lilacs Lilacs Lilacs!!! Thank you for the beautiful picture – I’m smelling them in my mind . . .

  42. Claudia Black says:

    The birds around our neighborhood have begun their conversations, the small green grass sprigs are peaking at the sun, the ground squishes just a bit when I walk my dog Clancy, and I have almost started reacquainting myself with my garden corner in the barrage. I am waiting impatiently for the day I can “smell the dirt”.

    I enjoy you website and have shared it with friends. Thank you for this friendly place to visit!

  43. Jody Mandel says:

    I trimmed all my heucheras and hydrangeas this weekend. It felt good to get out there. I got some color on my face, so I don’t look so winter blah.
    Really lifted my spirits.

  44. We moved to an old craftsman bungalow in the South. Our Spring will begin before yours, but I’ll be thinking of you and wishing you a quick entry to Spring as I plant my herb garden beside the patio. I’m ready to get started!!

  45. ToniBeth says:

    Just love the lilac path so beautiful. In my yard I have one white lilac when in bloom it smells Heavenly….But what will bloom first will be daffodils & hycyths then tulips & a 6ft pink star magnolia shrub,.Then later pink peony that I wish they could make me a party dress out of these peony petals…..Dreamin……Just dreamin of spring.
    Yes spring is coming because my robin family is here pulling the earth worms for a meal from my back yard after a nice rain.
    Thank you for all the photos to encourage us to get out & start to putter around until Spring really gets going.
    Ps I love the David Austin rose ( Graham Thomas) Before I moved I had one that got 10 ft tall on a metal arch it would fill it with tons of yellow fragrant blooms.
    I planted a Abraham Darby here which has peachy pink blossoms which I really enjoy!

  46. Do you hear my wistful sighs from Central NJ up there?

    I’m waiting for the snow to melt so that I can start assessing damage and see what isn’t coming up. I already know that my dwarf weeping laceleaf Japanese maple may be unrecoverable with a 5″ split down the center of the main trunk, but I’ll still give surgery a try.

  47. I walked in my garden this morning to see what survived the last cold spell. Our crazy Texas winter has been a challenge for the garden. Looks like the Bridal Spirea, which started to sprout tiny green leaves, two weeks ago, didn’t survive the 7 degree temperature last week. The Snow Drops with their damaged brown leaves are sprouting new white bell flowers and even the Quince shrub, which had been in full bloom before the freeze is beginning to re-bloom!. It’s amazing how resilient my garden can be. So I’m looking forward to a final good-bye to Winter and the joyous arrival of beautiful Spring days.

  48. Thank you for your amazing blog. I’m a frustrated tropical climate gardener here in northern Florida. Anything you plant must be able to withstand zone 10 summers and zone 6 winters. Plus drought, retina scarring sunshine and life threatening humidity. My current home has mostly shade so I have surrendered to Mother Nature and returned to planting elephant ear, ferns. Impatiens and caladiums. Lots and lots to comfort me in return for all my dream gardens Over the years that either didn’t survive or bloomed pathetically. Kevin, with your inspiration, im trying two new things this spring: window boxes and faux chilled daffodils. Lots of green shoots but no blooms so far. I don’t think it worked but haven’t discarded them for the impatiens yet! Thanks for all the beautiful ideas. I look forward to your blog every week.

  49. Spring is definitely on its way in the Pacific Northwest. The flowering apricot is in full bloom, crocus everywhere, daffs are up and the early ones are blooming, pulmonaria in full bloom and the forsythia bloomed today as did the first blossoms on the dark leaved plum which should be in full blossom in a day or two. The snowdrops are dying back but the viola odora is providing nosegays for the kitchen table. The Japanese camellias are starting to bloom but the winter camellias have finished. How I miss their sweet jasmine tea smell! Good thing that the hyacinths are starting to bloom. Now I have to plan my annual Hyacinth Tea with good teas, scones and watercress and cucumber sandwiches. Maybe a couple of cookies. Such fun! Such joy is Spring!

  50. Although my gardening is still a couple months away, I have several pots of tulip bulbs that are ready to take out of the refrigerator to force the blooms, per your instructions. I can’t wait to see the results of my first attempt at forcing. We are finally above freezing in SD, and the snow is melting fast! I can’t wait to see some green!

  51. I have already been able to snip off some green onions to add to an otherwise store bought salad…I am looking forward to planting greenbeans, and tomatoes. They are my absolute favorites. Then next comes summer squash and zuchini which both do very well here in the high desert. Hopefully we will get rain this year to help with the watering.
    Hoping and praying that the rabbits and packrats and other rodents find enough of their own green food to leave my garden alone this year. Yes, the garden is fenced but they get in anyway.
    Have hauled and spread a layer of llama beans for fertilizer, to be tilled under in a few weeks.
    Mostly looking forward to 100+ temps, blue sky and being outdoors !!!

  52. Hi Kevin,

    Hope weather is milder than when you wrote this. Here in Spain Spring is coming late too, but finally showing its first signs.

    I have a question I would very very much appreciate if you could answer; as surprising as it may be Spain has very few horticultural resources, I have already asked all the nurseries around but I got no definitive answer.

    Fritillaries: We had an Imperial fritillaria growing in our little garden last year. It thrived until my cat jumped from a tree on it. This year I bought 2 more and planted them in autumn. And also some Fritillaria Meleagris. None of them are sprouting except last year Imperial one 🙁 I’m so dissapointed. Do you happen to know why is this happening? We had an unusual rainy winter.

  53. goodness you certainly had a very cold and long winter as,we in the uk had rain which flooded thousands of homes,i like you Kevin look forward to spring.the pictures above are beautiful of your garden keep on the good work yvonne.

  54. Hi Ruth – My advice is to dig up at least one of your fritilaria bulbs. If it is mushy (not firm) and has no sign of roots, then it probably wasn’t viable to begin with. If it is mushy but has roots at its base, you can blame the rain in Spain for the bulb’s demise. Fritilaria (and other hardy bulbs) can not tolerate excessive moisture.

  55. I’ll do so 🙂 thank you so much for your reply,. I told my husband when I posted “Kevin knows for sure what to do. And he is so nice and polite he always answers” 🙂 hope good weather reaches you soon.

  56. Hi Kevin,
    This is my 1st year winter sowing.
    I live in Zone 5b
    I’ve wintersown 12 milkjugs & they are all annuals.
    Here it is Mid-March, the snow is STARTING to melt, but still no sprouts!
    I’m wondering: Did I do something wrong?? Should I just be a bit more patient, as this was a “record winter”?
    Any answers &/or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks ahead of time.

  57. Carol hardie says:

    That’s great. If you’re looking for some more garden designs. Have a look at gardening hornsby website.
    They’ve got some really innovative garden designs. !!

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