Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring blooms before winter chills

Well, we're having an interesting weather day, this Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day in April. I am sitting here typing this wearing shorts, and I expect to have a sweater on by evening. It's in the 60s now in central Maryland, after several lovely days when it hit 80; might reach 70 today in the middle of pouring rain, and then this evening the temperatures will drop into the low 30s or even high 20s, and if the precipitation hasn't moved off by then it may snow.

So (from photos taken over the last several days) this is what it might snow upon.

Daffodils, of course: the top is my mutant daffs that evolved from a very old planting of yellow trumpet types, the middle is one of the new bird-named ones that I would have to look up, the bottom is the delightful Thalia.

Muscari - and the white and mixed color ones are coming out too, though I didn't photograph those.

Hellebores, finally.

And just to say that spring is going to happen all at once this year (when it's not regressing to winter), budding bleeding hearts and Virginia bluebells.

I even have a few tulips blooming.

This is my blurry attempt to capture the anatomy of red buckeye, Aesculus pavia, which is just starting to bud. All those leaflets, and then something like sepals down below, and the pink bud above. If the cold snap doesn't ruin them, the flowers will be out next week.

Another flower the cold may nip: the gorgeous floating-in-air blooms of the Little Girl Magnolia that is either Anne or Jane.

However, the timing worked out just perfectly for all the cherry blossoms, including those in East Potomac Park in DC, which we popped down to see on Sunday (and walked what my FitBit tells me was 9 miles, OMG).

Also have windflower anemones, forsythia, loads more daffodils, and redbud just about to burst out. The warm spell spelled the end of the crocuses and miniature iris, but I really can't complain about the display.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Spring, flying visit of

The pretty pictures first! I have a daffodil:

I also have more crocuses blooming (they weren't open yet when I went out to take photos earlier, and I'm too lazy to try again) and the Iris histroides I-think-'George':

I'm sure spring will be sprung upon us all at once in the next couple of weeks, once it gets over this maybe-I'm-gonna-snow-again-just-watch-me! nonsense. It's chilly today, but yesterday was gorgeous, and I took advantage of that to dump manure on the community garden plot and put in a few hardy seeds that may or may not decide to come up (spinach, peas, mache, fenugreek). And then I came home and finished the Whack the Black Raspberries project, in which more than half of them (the originally planted ones that are now in the shade, and the plants that exist because I didn't keep up with pruning and let the canes root themselves all over) got pruned back to 12-18 inches high so they can be dug up and moved to someone else's new fruit plantation, and the rest got pruned to a few feet high so they can be organized onto their fence again. I have a lot of plans for the space that used to be the vegetable garden, but the most important thing is to devise ways to keep it from becoming a mass of weeds again.

My arms looked like this when the pruning was done:

but it was worth it. (That was the worst of it, really; I didn't suffer too much. And it was my fault for wearing a short-sleeved shirt - but how glorious to be able to! I'm so sick of my winter wardrobe.)

I need to do an inventory of seed-starting, but suffice to say I have lots of wee peppers and tomatoes and greens and other things coming up (a few still with aphids, but they are slowly being conquered), and I am thinking of ordering one of those fancy self-ventilating cold frames, or maybe two, instead of a greenhouse. More on that later.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Bloom Day March, or where is spring?

I'd really hoped to have more for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, but at least I'm glad there's an amaryllis bridge between inside and outside blooms.

That's the last of them, but I really have had amaryllis blooming most of the winter. The very long winter, even here in Maryland. We're getting more snow tomorrow night.

Outside, spring is on hold, though I do have the crocuses I posted about the other day and bunches of snowdrops:

That's it, though - not even any other crocuses beyond that one patch. At least I can see lots of the bulbs I planted in the fall poking leaves above ground, and some daffodils in very protected spots forming buds.

Most of the color in my garden right now looks like this:

Gotta get out there with a trash bag after the next snow melts. Long winter with lots of wind blowing things in.

Definitely going to be checking in on the bloggers in warmer climes today! But first, we're off to pick up some manure for the veggie garden, hurray.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Well, finally...

I know that in 2012 (which was the Year Without A Winter) this patch of crocuses was blooming by February 15; for last year I have no record, but I feel sure it was a bit earlier. I went looking for these over the weekend, and they hadn't appeared then. So, hurray. They may get snowed on yet (not tonight; despite a temperature drop of at least 40 degrees F. and possibly more overnight, we are only expecting rain) but at least we can now be confident any snowfall won't last long.

Snowdrops have been blooming since December, but they are supposed to peek charmingly out of the snow, so no big deal there. I'm not sure what happens to them when repeatedly whomped by snowfalls in the 6-16 inch range, but they look fine now.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Too late for GBBD...

… but the last amaryllis finally bloomed.

Aside from that, the world is cold and very snowy, but we're looking at warming temperatures this week, so mud is coming soon.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Amaryllis update plus snow and seeds

I didn't do GBBD this month because it would have been exactly the same as last month's, but that does mean my amaryllis is still blooming!

Exotic Star is definitely a winner - I believe it's had eight flowers so far this season.

My green amaryllis will be blooming soon, more modestly; it's mostly been engaged in growing a flowering stem that is at this point, I kid you not, 26 inches long. And the third one has finally started growing, with a far shorter stem and a flower bud. It's nice to have flowers over a long period of time, anyway.

Aside from that, I did get some time for mulching and such in the community garden on MLK Day, when it was 50 degrees F. A couple of days later the temperature plunged and it snowed:

and the snow is still there because it's not even reached freezing again, mostly hovering just north of zero. Again. I went outside this morning into 18F and thought that was pleasantly warm! But it is a good time to plan, and to sort the seeds (I was brave and threw a bunch out) and to get some more at seed swaps, like Washington Gardener's event yesterday. Got lots of great stuff brought by fellow seed lovers and donated by companies, sometimes for understandable reasons:

I'm hoping it will grow lettuce instead of tomatoes.