Bring on spring fever, hesitant experiments in the unheated greenhouse, frosty nighttime hours, bulbs bursting forth triumphant, hot cocoa and apple cider, and blowing snow with not-so-sure rain. This is a busy time for man and leprechaun. Dried foliage in the garden spurs reflection...with perhaps a wistful memory of summer's long gone. And, as we can start seeds on warm window sills, we remember the pleasures of being in the spring garden and the social and family pleasure that will bring us as we enter the season of sharing meals and gratitude.

Questions or comments are always welcome.  We'll try to get right back to you right away.  

Email us, Cathie Draine and Brad Morgan, at gardeners@blackhillsgarden.com

Great Gardening Truths.Let’s face it: we like our gardens to be pretty, and speaking for myself and probably others, I’m not thrilled to see a carefully grown ‘pretty’ hanging from the mouth of a deer, or gnawed to shreds by grasshoppers or twisted out of shape by aphids or thrips. I take that personally.

            Then, rethinking my behavior and restored by a cup of tea, I review what I know to be Great Gardening Truths. more

It's coming...the annual, almost free Rapid City Plant Share!!

The Plant Share is scheduled for Saturday, May 16th. It will be held at the old Boy's Club Thrift Store (directly across the street from The Journey Museum). More information about the hours, parking, etc. will be coming soon! Meanwhile wander through your garden to see which plants could be lifted and potted up for the event.

The Chickadee’s Guide to Gardening: In Your Garden.  Choose plants that help the environment  by Douglas W. Tallamy [New York Times, March 11, 2015  Oxford, Pa.] — I grew up thinking little of plants. I was interested in snakes and turtles, then insects and, eventually, birds. Now I like plants. But I still like the life they create even more.  more

Archeologists and soils.  Archeologists have found garden records and structural remnants dating back to the time of the pharaohs. Cultures knew that soil had to be fed and they, almost literally, threw everything but the kitchen sink into the gardens. Excavations have revealed potshards, bones, shells and human and animal manures. There is a record of a lease of land in ancient Greece that required the lessee to buy 150 baskets of manure (presumably from the owner) each year for the orchards. more

Dealing with winter doldrums?  (Here is a short article discussing the science behind that "happy feeling" we all get from spending time in the garden by Bonnie L. Grant)  Prozac may not be the only way to get rid of your serious blues. Soil microbes have been found to have similar effects on the brain and are without side effects and chemical dependency potential. Learn how to harness the natural antidepressant in soil and make yourself happier and healthier. Read on to see how dirt (soil) makes you happy.  more

Garden invasion of the voles.  Says Cathie, “we have been waging war on voles here. What a year for them!!! The damage is really amazing.”  Same story in the garden of Brad, who recommends putting mousetraps (since they look like mice) around a particular hole, with a 5-gallon bucket over the top so as not to snap squirrels and pets.  more

Roman wisdom about gardens. I know that thanks to my library and my garden, I am served heaps of wonder, reverence, curiosity, delight, questions, understanding, good hard work, accomplishment and failure.  Armed with the library and the garden my head, hands and heart are full and Cicero was right – a gardener lacks for nothing. more

The Hill City Evergreen Garden Club is sponsoring free garden seminars through April on the 4th Wednesday at 1:00 in the Super 8 Motel Conference room. Seminars are free and the public is invited.  more

Soil and Civilization. Something old is a careful reread of Soil and Civilization a comprehensive history of the treatment of soil by numerous civilizations published in 1952 by British author Edward Hyams. 

      New to me is Hyams’ categorizing man as a parasite on the soil – striking an iffy balance between the health of the soil and the crops produced; categorizing man as a disease organism of the soil – vigorous and now regarded as stupid misuse and destruction of the Oklahoma soils leading to the Dust Bowl; and, happily, man as a soil maker – cultures that understood the need for manuring the soil, rotating crops and allowing some fields to fallow.  more

The planet is a global garden.  What’s happening in the atmosphere, in the oceans, across the land – whether called climate change or global warming or weird weather – affects us all.  more


Gardening Is Doorway to Mindfulness.  Fall is the time of gathering-in, of vegetables, of seeds, or of ideas. It was those latter that I gathered in during the recent annual state-wide Master Gardener Update in Yankton. more

March gardening tip.   See March gardening tips on green tab above.  One is to "Buy a notebook and use it to keep all your gardening information. List what you plant in the garden. Include the name of seed companies, plant name, variety, planting date, and harvest date. During the growing season keep notes on how well the plant does. If the variety is susceptible to disease, record what was used to treat any problems. All this information will be helpful in planning future gardens."  

      Yes, a journal will draw you deeply into the heart of your garden, especially if you incorporate drawing and watercolor. Anybody can do this, even with dried plants like zinnias still in their pots (waiting for seed collection). You learn by doing and get better with practice. more