January is usually the time for home gardeners to exercise their green thumbs by flipping through seed and nursery catalogs. But if last week's warm spell lured you out of the house and into your favorite garden center, you probably found a few things to fuel the fantasy that spring is just around the corner.
Racks of new seed packets were out at Snavely's, and lawn mowers and barbeque grills had already replaced holiday mark-downs at Home Depot and Lowe's. If winter hasn't returned with a reality check by now, consider this: the average last spring frost date for Hagerstown is May 3, according to Lori Young, coordinator of the Washington County Cooperative Extension Service. What can the habitual gardener do in the meantime?
Start a windowsill garden. HomeSource found the tiny pots of succulents at Lowe's in Chambersburg, Pa. too cute to resist. Succulents make great patio plants when the weather warms up, and some, such as echevera, even survive our winters planted in the ground in a protected spot. In the meantime, these miniature charmers will bring to mind a vacation in Southern California or Mexico. We bought two-inch pots of anacampseros, a trailing succulent that promises pink blooms, and a "Cactus Collection Dish Garden" that even comes with its own pet rock.