The Forgotten Spring

Snow-EranthusOn Monday, March 30, 2015, it is snowing yet again and this March morning has all the steel gray warmth of an early January day. I did miss most of the snow of this remarkable winter but upon returning to New England in mid-March I have been privileged to witness the effects of the many snow storms of 2015. Deep snowThere is still a foot of snow on the ground in many places and the driveway has five foot piles of snow from the plow. The temperatures are quite chilly with the current temp of around 32F. There will be no raking in March. There will most probably be no garden cleanup until well into April. The days are getting much longer though and the sun is quite warm despite the cool air temperatures. The evidence that spring has arrived is here but it is slim evidence. Much of the garden is still covered but those southerly exposures are clear. Snow-recedingThe snow is receding ever so slowly leaving in its wake, sticks, mud, packed leaves and even a flower or two. Why didn't I plant five hundred crocus in this area in the back? Nature gives us the best cues if we care to look for them. I do have some Eranthis hyemalis aka winter aconite, blooming in the back and it really only takes a glimpse of this bright yellow to lighten one's spirit. I am marking the calendar right now to order some bulbs for fall planting. Next spring when the snow recedes, a bright carpet of gold will take its place. Snow-single aconiteGold and maybe some orange. I feel better already.    

Back to the Cold

The birdLast week I was frolicking with the Sandhill Cranes on the golf course in Titusville, FL. My Mom has a winter home there and mid-January seemed a good opportunity to visit with her and enjoy the warmth. Timing is everything. I was away when the cold arctic air descended on much of the country last week. Florida was sunny and relatively warm. When one leaves the garden for a week in June there are drastic changes. In January, not so much. The only major change was to the thermometer. Cold rhodieThere were subtle changes. The rhododendron leaves exhibit a curling response to the cold and when it is very cold, they really shiver. There was a sprinkling of snow on the garden when I returned. When the temperature dips to single digits it is best to have a heavy blanket on the beds both inside and out.Light snow on hollySome things are out of our control and only time will tell if the low temps have caused any major damage. Many gardeners take chances with plants which are on the edge of their hardiness zone. I rarely take that chance any longer. Mother Nature has trained me in this regard. What about you? Do you have any 'On Edge' plants which you are worried about this winter?     

Too cold for bunnies!

Easter morning dawns cold but sunny.  The birds are busy but there are no bunnies in sight.  Most of the gardens are still tucked under their blanket of oak leaves.  So many chores and so little time!

Here is an early spring pDsc_0038_2icture of Hamamelis x intermedia 'Diana' or  witchhazel.  It is one of the earliest spring bloomers

and, as you can see, a great spot of color.  There are many cultivars to choose from with range of color from  red  through pale yellow.   Consider planting one this spring.  This is a small  tree which grows between 15' and 20' high.  Good fall color can be expected but they are a bit coarse during the summer.  The do look very nice in a shrub border or on the edge of the woods.


The yellow variety is 'Arnold's Promise' Both varieties are readily available at any nursery or garden center.