Bring on spring gardening, experiments in the unheated greenhouse, cold nighttime hours, bulbs bursting forth triumphant, robins and bluebirds, and green grass with not-so-sure rain. This is a busy planning time for man and May-pole dancer. 

      Dried foliage in the garden spurs reflection...with perhaps a wistful memory of season's long gone. And, as we can start seeds on warm window sills, we remember the pleasures of being in the summer 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

Don't miss it! The last gardening seminar sponsored by the Hill City Evergreen Garden Club of this winter season is Wednesday, April 22. For more information, click the Upcoming Events tab!!

Nativars are cultivars of native species (e. g. purple Joe Pye weed).  So here we are in the full embrace of spring. 

Easter is past, daffodils, tulips and other bulbs are fully out and glorious. 

The soil is a bit cold to do any seed planting outdoors and I, at least, hope for two or three reasonably warm, wet spring snows or rain.


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. more

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

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.

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

April gardening tip.   See April gardening tips on green tab above.  One is "Don't add organic matter to the soil when planting trees. It does not help the plant become established and it may create conditions that encourage the roots to stay inside the planting hole instead of spreading to surrounding soil. Do dig a large planting hole, but fill it with the original soil removed from it."  

     In addition, begin a hand-sketched journal that 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