It’s the Easter season! Easter Sunday is April 1. Orthodox Easter falls on April 8. And the theme of new life and rebirth gets the juices flowing at the Monk Botanical Gardens in Wausau, too.
Like us, our seeds and bulbs and trees and shrubs have been waiting all winter for this. Hiding underground or in dormant branches, they will soon spring into action.
It’s a fascinating process, and one that we don’t really appreciate until the results appear. Seeds need water, the correct soil temperature and good soil in order to germinate. The Penn State University Extension website tells us, “All fully developed seeds contain an embryo and a store of food wrapped in a food coat. (Sort of a snack in the back pack). When the seed is large enough, its own leaves begin making food through the process of photosynthesis. The seedling's roots push down into the soil to anchor the new plant and to absorb water and minerals from the soil. And its stem with new leaves pushes up toward the light. The germination stage ends when a shoot emerges from the soil.”
Bulbs behave similarly. The Illinois extension website describes bulbs as “a promise of a plant to come.” That’s because each bulb actually has a complete miniature plant inside it, along with the necessary food. “If you slice a bulb vertically you should be able to find leaves, stems, even flower buds," Illinois Extension Service advises. Operating according to their biological timeclock, bulbs push roots out of the bottom and stems out of the top. If the soil’s too cold, the stems stop just below the surface, waiting for more spring-like temperatures.
Crocus are usually first up and do well in snow and cold, common to our temperature zone 4. “The foliage is very cold durable and can even persist under a thick blanket of snow,” according to the Missouri Botanicl Garden website.
Trees will be waking up soon, too, with birches and willows blooming around mid-April when warmer temperatures become more regular. The Davey.com website reports that other trees may hold back on budding to avoid sudden drops in temperature. “As long a tree buds are green on the inside, they’re alive and well and just waiting for their time to sprout", says Davey.
The Gardens will be warming up as well, with an array of new events. Watch our website (www.monkgardens.org) for news about the gardening workshops planned during our Green Saturday Plant Sale on Saturday, May 19; our Wednesday morning summer tours, and new activities for kids and families like the Family Garden Club, Tots in the Garden and Free Play Fridays. Even better, sign up for our newsletters by going to the website and clicking on “Subscribe.”