Nature’s Time Clock is Amazing

nature's time clock

Have you ever wondered how flowers and plants know when it’s time to grow in the spring after being dormant all winter? I find it fascinating how perennial plants can do this. Buried under snow and ice one month, then popping up through the thawed ground the next. How do they do it? They follow nature’s time clock.

Wildflowers Bloom According to Nature’s Time Clock

Wildflowers, such as bloodroot, trout lilies, trilliums, Dutchman’s breeches, and many others follow nature’s time clock, blooming as soon as the soil warms up. Each species has its own timeline. For example, dandelions and lilacs bloom when the soil reaches 15 degrees.

Captive (non-native) Plants

Captive or non-native flowers like daffodils, tulips, and crocus live in an artificial or foreign climate, so are less predictable or stable. They certainly are pretty though, with new varieties out every year.

nature's time clock
admiring the tulips

Farmers Have been Using Nature’s Time Clock for Years.

Farmers have been relying on this planting clock for many years, since 800 BC. My mother grew up on a farm and told me a funny story about potato planting and how it always interfered with her birthday every year. She could care less about nature’s time clock.

Mushroom Pop Up When the Clock Says So Too

Recently I read this blog post about mushrooms from the Calabogie hiker. I learned that black morels, the mushrooms I’ve discovered on our cottage property, pop up from mid-April to mid-June, first poking through the ground when the wild lilacs bloom. As mentioned previously, that’s when the soil temperature reaches 15 degrees. Now I know exactly when to start looking for them. Unfortunately, that timing coincides with the first lawn cutting of the season.

Another of her posts talked about mother nature’s time clock which inspired this post on my own blog.

Conclusions for Nature’s Time Clock

I love spring because of the changes in my garden, some almost daily. As the soil temperature warms up or even after a well-needed, (like the one we received this past weekend) soaking rain, I love wandering through the gardens every day to see the new growth. When I’ve been away for a few days, that’s the first thing I have to do upon my return.

Vanderpump Rules Drama

Have you been caught up in the Vanderpump Rules drama on reality TV?  It’s in your face everywhere, whether you care or not.  Their ratings have skyrocketed.

During the pandemic, hubby and I, like many others with nothing much else to do, were recording lots of reality TV. We only watched it sporadically however.

When the latest scandal hit the news, we realized we had episodes taped, and curiosity as to what the drama is all about won.

VPR in a Nutshell

This show boils down to a bunch of cute (at the beginning) twenty-something kids working at various restaurants and bars in the LA area owned by Lisa Vanderpump.  LVP, as she is called, is the matriarch of the show, offering motherly advice, admonishments, and even a few business loans to her brood. Some of these “kids” are currently in their forties, no longer so cute. But entertaining nonetheless.

The Vanderpump Rules drama features scandal after scandal, some more brash and brazen than others.


The most recent scandal, the one currently in all the entertainment news, involved a months-long love affair between Tom Sandoval and his co-star Raquel (AKA Rachel) Levis behind the backs of other castmates, including Tom’s long time (9 years) girlfriend Ariana Madix. 

The s**t hit the fan when Tom dropped his phone while performing with his band and someone innocently retrieved it, handing it to Ariana for safe keeping.  Well, she decided to sneak a peek at his photos, discovering a risque video of Raquel and Tom.

The funny/not funny part is that the season of VPR had finished shooting when this revelation happened.  Bravo, astutely realizing they had a blockbuster on their hands, resumed filming, adding another “final episode” and several “reunion” episodes digging up the dirt, looking for signs of the affair, and emotionally airing (literally) it out. 

The final last episode aired last Wednesday (May 17) with the reunion episodes still to come. 

I’ve read a few Scandoval headlines but this reaction by a psychologist hits the nail on the head.

Randall Scandal

An earlier VPR scandal surfaced when film director Randall Emmitt was caught cheating on his girlfriend Lala Kent, one of the more outspoken girls under LVP’s wing.

This was not as big of a deal as it seemed (to viewers and castmates) since Lala started dating Randall when he was a married man.  As LVP warned Lala way back, you lose them the same way you catch them.  In other words, once a cheater, always a cheater. 

Lala however, ironically took great offense to castmates calling her a mistress.

The Shenanigans of Jax

For many previous (to these two scandals) Jax was the feature.  His dating and cheating (though he and his partners were never married or in long term relationships) shenanigans were  typical of the show but not scandalous.  He is now married and a father with his philandering (hopefully) behind him.

Team Ariana or Team Tom?

Back to Scandoval…Are you on team Ariana or team Tom in this Vanderpump Rules scandal?  It seems the world, including Joe Biden, is on team Ariana. 

Where that leaves Tom Sandoval and his personality-challenged, goofy sidekick and business partner Tom Swartz is anyone’s guess. 

The line in the sand is clearly drawn.

Frost Warnings, How to Protect Your Plants

frost warnings

Many locations on the east coast of Canada and the USA have had frost warnings the past few nights with more to come for the next few days. Some annuals tolerate a light frost, others not so much. Of course, the first frost date varies across the globe, sometimes year to year within the same area.

In other words, frost is unpredictable.

You can extend the season on both ends by heeding frost warnings in your weather forecast. In the spring I tend to start my containers early to ensure I get the annuals I want. If a frost warning is issued, I move the containers into my garage, off the (cold) cement floor, for the night in question. The same technique can be used in the fall when a sporadic early frost is in the forecast.

These are ways you can protect your annuals.

Sheets, Towels, Tablecloths, and even Plastic

Beds of annual (those that you have to plant each spring) flowers can be protected with bed sheets, towels, or even tablecloths. I get the cheap tablecloths from a dollar store, the ones with the felt-like backing; they work great. Sticks or stakes can be used to prevent the covering from crushing the plants, and rocks to hold the covering down so they don’t blow in the wind.

Plastic garbage bags work too and often fit right over containers, just ensure they reach right to the ground. And again, use rocks to hold them in place. Or tie something around the base to hold the plastic in place; burlap works well here too. As do large tarps, although they can be heavy but work great on raised beds with tiny seedlings. If plants are taller, simply add stakes around the plants to keep the tarp off them.

Of course, whatever you use will depend on the size of the beds or containers you wish to protect.

Frost Covers

Yes, there is such a thing in garden centers, nurseries, big stores, and even on Amazon. I’ve never tried any of these options, if you have please let me know how you like them!

A Warmer Spot

If you have annuals in pots or still in their nursery containers waiting to be planted, simply move them to a garage or basement for frost warnings. If in an unheated garage, store them on something so they are not on the cement floor. A shelf or even storage bins work well. Then you can move them in and out depending on the weather.

If you have lots, a wheelbarrow or cart works well to transport them back and forth. You could even leave the tender plants in whatever you use in the garage.

My yet-unplanted annual collection stayed in my garage all day yesterday as the temperature here never reached double digits before another frost warning last night.

frost warnings

Don’t Worry About Perennials in Frost Warnings

While annuals will be affected by frost, most perennials will not. Perennials can be planted as soon as the ground is thawed and will survive the temperature fluctuations in spring and fall.

Perennials can overwinter in containers too if you choose plants two zones hardier than what is normally hardy in your area. Otherwise, you can stick them in the ground to overwinter, to use them again the following spring.