As I wait for the first signs of spring to appear beyond my window, I imagine the gardens that will soon be reawakening.
Ice has nearly disappeared on Lake Winnebago. Gone are the ice houses dotting the surface during the sturgeon spearing season a few short months ago.
Daffodils are just beginning to push their green foliage throught the soggy soil. Hungry deer and rabbits seem to leave them alone in favor of others foliage in my neighbors gardens. With High Cliff State Park and a local golf course nearby, it seems unreasonable to expect to be able to keep them at bay with fencing, that would likely detract from our views of the lake in any case.
We returned to Wisconsin nearly 5 years ago after nearly 8 years enjoying the warmer climes of Tennessee and northern California. It's been hard to adjust to the short garden season after marveling at nearly year-round foliage and floral displays. There were the pink, white and burgundy swathes of azaleas under the dogwoods and magnolias in Memphis. And the hybrid tea rosebushes thriving in the dry heat of the East Bay.
What favorites can I recall from my gardens in Green Bay Over a decade ago? The temperature extremes are generally the same here, less the an hour away in Sherwood, although the recent changes in the hardiness zone maps have moved us into Zone 5A. Do I dare try experimenting with a few marginally hardy plants here-magnolias, redbuds, rhododendrons,...? The bitter cold winds off the lake are surely presenting some new challenges. Possibly I can search for slightly warmer microclimates in the yard.