Not even the bravest of petunias could have peeked its head above the soil on cold and blustery Sunday.
The potential for snow in York County's mid-week forecast means winter isn't leaving us without a fight this year.
Yet, gardeners gathered this weekend among decorative waterfalls and potted plants at the PA Garden Show of York to ready themselves for what we all know is, finally, around the corner - spring.
At the Penn State Cooperative Extension kiosk, master gardener Carolyn Hinton answered questions like, "When I should plant blueberries?" and "How do I keep critters out of my garden?"
A piece of advice: Soil testing, a service offered by the extension, is crucial for new gardeners who want to successfully grow flowers, vegetables or fruit, Hinton said.
"It'll tell you exactly what you need to grow blueberries in that plot," she said.
As for critters, Hinton advised fencing rather than chemical sprays.
So, when's the best time to plant flowers and vegetables?
If Dave Miller, owner of Miller's Plant Farm in York Township, had that answer, "I'd be a weatherman instead."
OK, so it's not an exact science. Predicting winter's last frost is a guessing game every year.
But Miller said he tells gardeners to do most of their planting after Mother's Day on May 12. For garden staples like peppers, tomatoes and petunias, the warmer weather is key, he said.
Can't wait that long to dig in the dirt? Most lettuces and onions are safe to plant now, Miller said.
"They'll take any amount of cold we'll get from here on out," he said.
Broccoli, cabbage and some flowers will do just fine being planted in April, he added.
If a late-season frost threatens your garden, Miller recommends covering vulnerable plants overnight with cloth or paper - anything but plastic.
Gardeners looking to attract some wildlife might consider shopping for trees, shrubs and wildflowers at Heartwood Nursery in Felton, where Sue Hunter sells plants grown on her 70-acre farm.
All of the plants are native to the region, making them a natural draw for desirable birds and butterflies, Hunter said.
"They're so much more adaptable to the region," she said. "They're already acclimated." Classes offered: The Penn State Cooperative Extension's master gardener program is offering a series of eight classes on home gardening beginning Tuesday, April 9. All of the classes begin at 6 p.m. at the York County Annex, 112 Pleasant Acres Road. Registration costs $7 per class or $40 for the whole series. For more information, call (717) 840-7408. The classes cover the following topics:
\ Tuesday, April 9: How to Plant Trees and Shrubs
Wednesday, April 17: Science of the Soil and Life Within; Composting
Wednesday, April 24: Shade Gardening
Wednesday, May 1: Salsa Night - Tomatoes, Garlic and Herbs
Tuesday, May 7: Edible Landscaping; Organic Gardening
Wednesday, May 15: Suburban Yard to Native Landscape; Attract Butterflies
Wednesday, June 19: How to be a Garden CSI
Wednesday, Aug. 14: A Walk Through the Gardens at Rudy Park
- Erin James may also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.