I made a point of getting the lawn mowed Saturday. I wanted to have things nice and neat for when the snow comes.
Although things are way too early this year, all my efforts to convince them to slow down have gone unheeded. The plants just don’t know what to do with this rollercoaster ride of highs and lows and as a result it’s been a kind of crappy spring with snowdrops peaking and then wilting in a few days of heat, hailstorms knocking everything down, cold weather keeping the depressing wreckage at a standstill, another warm spell to snap things back into high speed, and then now this latest arctic blast. Here’s the front border six days prior when only a few weather beaten crocus were up. At least I had enough time to raid the neighborhood dump and mulch the border with plenty of nicely chopped leaves.
In less than a week we’ve jumped ahead to the peak of the daffodil season. Last fall I wanted to mix in a few more of the bright yellows so I snapped up a batch of 50 from Van Engelen and haphazardly spread them throughout the border. I tend to enjoy a more natural look and the scattered planting combined with the wildflowery long noses on this cultivar makes them appear as if they’ve been there much longer than a few months. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this or if I’ve repeated it a dozen times, but daffodils which hold on to the long trumpets and backswept petals of the original N. cyclamineus species are by far my favorite types 🙂
One, and possibly the only, thing good about frequent cold spells is that some of the daffodils are showing their deepest, glamour shot colors without the fading which normally occurs in the warmer weather. Here in a cool bed which is shaded by a fence, ‘Jetfire’ is looking almost fluorescent with its orange cup. I’ve never seen it this bright before, and hopefully this is a good start for this bed since I’m still into the months long process of killing the most persistent weeds here with a double shot of thick mulch and weed killing spray. Maybe by the start of this summer I can finally refill this open land with all kinds of new goodies!
Another thing you may or may not know is that I tend to have a lot of favorite daffodils, and that’s because I grow a good assortment to choose from, and I challenge anyone to stick to just one favorite! Narcissus ‘Rapture’ is an award winning, American bred daffodil with just the kind of cyclamineus genes I love. Look at those cute little reflexed petals and long trumpet! As you can see by the neighboring empty spots, not all daffodils have done as well in this location, since at one time this bed was fully planted.
But of course the up and down weather is even beginning to wear on the daffodils. Arctic blasts of cold burnt the early tips of many of the more trusting varieties.
It’s all or nothing for some of these daffodils which carry the genes of the more southern N. jonquilla. If it’s a cold winter they hunker down and don’t poke up their heads until the weather has settled, but in an unsettled winter they keep on trying to get started during every warm spell.
The unsettled winter crushed this year’s hellebore show. I should have seen that coming since last fall they looked better than ever and were poised to bloom their heads off. So much for that.
Of course I have my favorites among the hellebores as well.
Any opinions on this picotee hellebore growing in the front border? It’s doing very well in spite of the fact nearly all its neighbors were frozen back to their crowns…
I guess it’s time for a reality check. Here are the daffodils this morning as the cold wind howls outside.
To be honest I hope the snow predicted for tonight also comes through. The garden can use a little bit of extra cover to help it out when the low temperatures drop to 19F (-7C) for both Monday and Tuesday. Whatever.
It’s normal for everything to wilt as it freezes, and that’s a good thing since too much water in the stems will cause them to burst as the water expands, but I’m not sure exactly what else will survive the upcoming deep freeze. I’m writing off the wisteria, even the barely expanded buds will most likely die off, and the hyacinths will be mush, but I’m most worried about the tulips and daffodils. A few years ago a one night cold snap permanently ‘did in’ a bunch of tulips, this longer spell has me more worried, and I have many more now than I did back then.
C’est la vie. Maybe I’ll order a few new cannas today, and dream of a beautiful June garden. April and May are kind of iffy right now, but as long as the birds sing and the sun is warm we’ll be fine…. tulips or not.