As I write these words, many of you are waking up this morning and clutching your blankets a little tighter around your chins, aware that the ambient temperature in your bedroom has crept below ‘pleasantly cool’ and moved into ‘nippy’ territory. After weeks of temperatures soaring twenty degrees or more above normal, it may take you a minute or two to understand that we had a freeze last night, and while you were unconsciously pulling the duvet off your spouse, your tender plants outside were succumbing to the cold like the Little Match Girl of old.
Welcome to a real spring.
If you are new to gardening, it may now be clear to you why, when you walked into a bone-fide local nursery last week, took off your sunglassses, adjusted your strappy sandles and announced that you were looking for a nice tub of basil, the owner looked at you like you had a screw loose.
But that might not have stopped you in your quest to get your pesto underway. Just down the road, the big-box retailers were more than happy to indulge you. Far from being concerned over how their market-packs and four inch pots would fare in your early spring garden, they were far more interested in how much cash they could strip from you during a sun-induced spending spree. A quick survey last weekend confirmed that just under half of the pretty babies being peddled to unsuspecting gardeners are tender; and not just a little tender, but melt-in-a-stiff-breeze-tender.