CATHIE DRAINE: Spring remains a season of optimism

CATHIE DRAINE: Spring remains a season of optimism


Spring appears to be stubbing its toe a bit as it toddles into our area presenting us with a day of sun, then clouds, then snow which I am confident really wants to be rain. Our little garden is still wearing its winter pajamas — a clutter of leaves and stalks of long winter-dead plants.

However, as we admire the two pots of Easter lilies indoors that are delighting us, I have genuine spring thoughts because these lilies (Lilium longiflorum) will join last year’s Easter lily planted out in the garden. Put in a site with at least six hours of sun in good, well-draining soil, these hardy lilies bloom beautifully a little later in the summer and will return to delight each year.

Even though will there be more first-time gardeners this year, several of the favorite garden events are stepping back. The much anticipated almost free city-wide plant share has been cancelled for this year due to the virus. The garden walk is also cancelled.

It is my hope that many gardeners will share extra plants, tools, pots, time and experience with those gardening for the first time or the first time in a long time. If one has extra plants, tell your friends, tie a notice to a tree, or use the neighborhood email.

The Farmers Market in Market Park in Rapid City will be conducting business online this summer. According to Barb Cromwell, market manager, here are the most important points for this year: the market will be open (for pick-up of orders only) on Saturdays, May 9 through October and on Wednesdays, beginning July 10 through October.

To support the social distancing protocol, the Black Hills Farmers Market will have online pre-ordering. At this time, on-site shopping will not be available. Customers may place orders on each week Tuesday through Thursday for Saturday morning curbside pick-up from Market Park at 245 E. Omaha Street. Once customers place an order, they will be emailed a time slot for pickup.

EBT and Double Up Food Bucks will be available again this year. Check frequently for updates and information at or

If you have a plan to self-isolate in a comfortable chair in the garden, consider reading “The Plague” by French author Albert Camus or “The Last Man” by English author Mary Shelley (wife of English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley). Maria Popova in her blog Brain-pickings discusses these two plague-themed books and adds American poet Walt Whitman’s question: “After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, love, and so on — have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear — what remains?” He answers himself: “Nature remains.” Popova states, “Shelley’s protagonist (in “The Last Man”) finds the meaning of life not in the whirlwind of the human-made world… but in the simple creaturely presence with nature’s ongoing symphony of life: ‘Let us… seek peace…near the inland murmur of streams, and the gracious waving of trees, the beauteous vesture of earth, and the sublime pageantry of the skies.’ ”

Yes, let’s do that.

Cathie Draine is a South Dakota Cooperative Extension Master Gardener and a member of the Garden Writers Association. She lives and gardens in Whispering Pines. Contact her at

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