|March 10, 2012 - a surprise storm|
This past weekend, we were outside in spring and summer clothing, enjoying temperatures that soared into the 70's F (20's C ), far above the norm for this time of year. With temperatures expected to top 80 degrees F (26 C) today, it's hard to believe that we are only into the third week of March.
|The snowdrops weathered the snow quite nicely.|
The snowdrops first appeared during the last week of February and were covered with snow in the last storm. When I was photographing them again this week, I noticed for the first time the way the center of each blossom is a beautiful layered rosette of white petals edging in green. With their faces looking down at the ground, I never looked closely inside the blossom before!
|I never studied the faces of the snowdrop blossoms before, which are angled down toward the soil.|
|The daffodils will opening in a matter of days.|
|Clumps of miniature iris are blooming very early. Usually they bloom much later, at the same time as the miniature daffodils which are planted in the same border but which have barely started to show buds.|
Over the past two winters, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of squirrels and chipmunks and the beds are dotted with the openings to tunnels dug by the voles burrowing through our gardens. Last spring we noticed a significant decrease in the number tulips and daffodils, evidence of winter feeding on our bulbs. This spring, the amount of bulb loss is even more concerning. Where we ordinarily had large clumps of crocuses, scarcely a handful remain and some clumps have disappeared completely.
|The best known harbingers of spring, most of our clumps of crocuses have been decimated by the voles. We'll plant more in the fall, but we'll need to address the rodents this summer.|
|The honeybees have returned. The hellebores have been alive with them from dawn to dusk, a most welcome sight!|
|The mauve and aubergine hellebores opened earliest and have been blooming since the beginning of the month, through two snowfalls, in fact. The lime green ones are now budded and ready to open, and the white ones opened on the 17th.|
|The miniature hyacinths seem to be the one spring bulb that the voles have avoided.|
|This past weekend we filled all of our planters with perky pansies. Another spring fixture in New England, usually we don't plant these until the end of April.|
|The rich mauve were not available, but the blue is definitely eye-catching.|
|The star magnolia and yellow magnolias have plump buds.|
|In New England, lilacs can usually be counted on to be in bloom for Mother's Day. They are already beginning to leaf out and buds are already formed and beginning to develop.|
|Like the lilacs, the cherries are budded more than a month earlier than usual. We usually see the tree in bloom at the end of April. I won't be surprised to see the tree in bloom before the end of this month.|
Whether it's from the effects of global warming, sun flares, la nina, or other variables, the mild winter and early spring, though most welcome to those of us who love to garden, may also lead to a variety of other issues we will need to contend with in terms of insect and rodent population shifts. It's hard to think about negative consequences, however, as I listen to the birds singing through the open doors to the patio where the temperature has now reached the 80 degree mark.
As a native Yankee, even though I am delighting in this glorious respite from winter, I still recall snowfalls well into May and I am not forgetting the age old warning not to plant tender annuals until "all danger of frost is past". April Fool's Day is less than two weeks away and it would be just like Mother Nature to follow this blissfully summer-like weather with a spate of frigid weather and perhaps even yet another snowfall. With that in mind, we are limiting our planting to pots and raised beds that can be easily protected if the weather changes dramatically.
Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is the brainchild of Carol, who blogs about her gardening escapades at May Dreams Gardens. Like me, Carol is a lover of spring (May in particular) who invites gardeners to record the blooms in their garden every month throughout the year on the 15th of the month. You can read more about it on her blog where you can also find links to tens of dozens of other gardens who celebrate their gardening blooms each month with Carol. Click here to visit Carol's fabulous blog!