After one of the snowiest winters in recent memory, Spring is finally here - not just on the calendar, but in our home and yard as well. The garden burst forth this past weekend with our first blooms of the year: snowdrops are blooming in the cottage garden and today, I saw the first crocus buds as well, just ready to open.
After a visit to the Massachusetts Horticultural Society's annual Flower Show in Boston, I found myself more inspired than ever to begin the spring gardening chores. I began by clipping forsythia wands for forcing indoors and his year, inspired by a display I saw at the flower show, I snipped some branches from our saucer magnolia as well.
|Forcing forsythia and magnolia blossoms|
Last spring, we had scant blooms on our burgundy and cream magnolia and the yellow magnolias' blooms were sparse as well. After an exuberant bloom the year before, we were disappointed that the trees were nearly devoid of color last Spring. But this week I was delighted to see the branches full of plump velvety buds and I know that the trees are going to be gorgeous in another few weeks.
The rhododendrons are also in excellent shape, considering the many feet of snow that buried them for the last three months. The Nova Zemblas are full of buds and the leaves show none of the drying effects of winter. Our white rhodies, the catawbiense "Choinoides", also seem to have had new life breathed into them over the winter after a difficult spring and summer last year.
Everywhere I look, mounds of green and green leaf spikes are poking through the mulch. The benefits of the heavy snow - insulation and ample water - are obvious. But so are the casualties. In particular, our sand cherry is likely a total loss, and for that we are dismayed.
For reasons we can't quite fathom, the plow service piled heavy wet snow on the sand cherry, instead of pushing it into the wide open space along the walkway to the shade gardens and the back yard. Every branch cracked under the strain and the main stem has split as well. Last year, the sand cherry was a stand out in the spring garden, covered with pink blossoms. We were hoping for the same this spring. Sadly, it looks as though we'll be seeking a replacement.
In the first picture, the tree has actually been totally bent to the side and the branches poking through at the top are actually from a side branch. We knew then that the tree was in trouble, but there was little we could do. After the snow fell, it rained, then froze. We couldn't dig it out and were forced to wait for warmer weather and for the ice to melt.
|Just the tips of a few branches poke through the six-plus foot pile of snow crushing the sand cherry.|
|Every branch has evidence of damage from the weight of the snow.|
|Damage to the sand cherry - March, 2011|