Thursday, February 23, 2012


I missed Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day this month (not that I didn't have flowers, I just didn't want to be the twenty-third person saying "look! snowdrops and crocuses! WTF is up with that?") but now I have a daffodil, so must report.  Ta-da!  Is it the earliest ever?  I don't know, since I was terrible at keeping records until I had this blog, which will make all the difference.  *hums and looks confident*

There's been a lot of noise this winter along the lines of "See?  We told you global warming was real!" which sounds rather similar to the noises two winters ago when we had feet of snow, twice, and Washington's empty government buildings echoed to cries of "See?  We told you global warming was a political conspiracy!"  Neither of you are right.  Well, actually, the yea-sayers are right, but not because it's warm this winter, and it's not warm this winter strictly because of global warming or climate change or whatever you want to call it.  It's warm because the arctic oscillation is keeping itself in the far north or something (I heard it on NPR, okay?  So anyone reading this who thinks global warming is a political conspiracy can blame them, and decide that I think "gullible" isn't in the dictionary), and that can happen from time to time; it's perhaps a bit on the extreme end of normal, but normal nonetheless.  It does not mean it will never snow in Maryland again, and we will always have crocuses in January.  It is likely that along with the gradual warming trend we will have an increasing number of extreme-range-of-normal events, like two feet of snow or the kind of winter where everyone wishes they'd planted more fall greens since they'd still be harvesting them.  Dammit.

Also, I hear from Mike Raupp The Bug Guy, with regret, the reason we don't have a lot of stink bugs hanging around this warm winter isn't so much because of the winter as because of the late summer and fall, when we had feet of rain and apparently drowned the second generation of bugs (when they get down to Florida, guys, they will have five generations a year.  Think of all the baby shower gifts you'll have to get), but they will likely be back in full strength in no time at all.  It was a rather depressing (and yet extremely entertaining) talk he gave; he's giving another at Meadowside Nature Center on March 14, if you're around here and want to go.  

hairy bittercress
I gather daffodils have been blooming in DC for some weeks now, but I am in the bitter north here, so February 23 is pretty impressive, for whatever value of that word you want to infer.  Now, there are people who spot daffodils in February and just say "Look, a daffodil!" and there are gardeners, who say "Oh dear, that seems early; what happens if the arctic oscillation shifts and we get that blizzard after all?" (the answer is "not much; daffodils are pretty tough") and then there are the truly plant-aware and the master gardeners (in the broad, not Extensionist sense), who ignore the daffodils and start whining that the hairy bittercress and deadnettle are blooming and they never pulled them out when they should have.  Henceforth this is the task for warm winters: get rid of the weeds.  (Hairy bittercress is supposedly edible, though I find it too tiny and fussy to deal with.  So is garlic mustard (edible, I mean), and I have a lot of that to get rid of too, though thank goodness it doesn't bloom for another month or more.  I hope.  God, it's really depressing being a master gardener.  All I see is what shouldn't be there.)

Okay, and I have crocuses, too.  Look!

No miniature iris yet.  If those start blooming in February I may give up and move to Canada.

In other news, my seedlings are sprouting, including much of what I reported planted last time, and over the weekend I put seeds in for a whole bunch of peppers (33 plants, if they all come up.  I do not need 33 pepper plants), including several bells and some Italian frying and a jalapeno-sort and Fish and a habanero-type that is supposed to not be hot and a paprika and possibly others I've forgotten.  I have just received a heat mat I ordered (never used one before, since I start seeds in a warm room) which I may put under the peppers and/or the extra eggplants I should probably start soon, to encourage germination.  Also got more 2-foot shop lights for my 3-foot shelf.  No one makes 3-foot shop lights.  This is a business opportunity (for China, probably).

And in more other news, I just checked registration for the class I'm teaching March 10 (Montgomery College Germantown, Intensive Vegetable Gardening) and there are nine actual people signed up for it so far, so I had better get working on that powerpoint.


  1. I love those purple crocus, and yes daffy too. But i laughed at your mention of being the 23rd person posting snowdrops and crocuses! I normally join GBBD because I noticed most joiners are from the temperate climates, with yes snowdrops and crocuses, or lately hellebores and witch hazels, and my tropical flowers and plants providing the contrast, or let's say more exotic. But i sometimes get tired of seeing the plants common for me too. So i didn't join as well. LOL

    1. That's funny, Andrea! I love seeing all the tropical flowers in the winter, and thinking about what's normal in other places.