The ten day forecast says spring will arrive on Tuesday, so if you’ve been dilly dallying because of the snow I suggest you get ready to hit the ground running! It is April after all, and although our weekly and sometimes daily snowstorms might hint otherwise, I do see a 70F day approaching and then no below freezing temperatures for the next week…. as long as we wait until Tuesday of course.
Most everyone has been complaining about the weather but I always like to remind these buttercups that we live in the mountains of Pennsylvania, and the whole ‘April showers’ thing was probably dreamed up by some idle poet wasting away another gloomy English morning on a sofa by the window, waiting for the sun to make an appearance. Come to think of it this cold and gloomy, precipitate-rich spring weather is what I imagine spring in the UK and Pacific Northwest to be like. It’s excellent weather for growing things like moss and liverworts but less entertaining for the gardener. Even if it does keep the winter flowers like snowdrops in bloom for what seems like forever.
Now would probably be a good time to pat myself on the back for not going as far overboard on the snowdrops as I usually do. You’re welcome. Even though it’s been one of the longest seasons ever, with not too-much heavy snow and zero single digit arctic blasts, it’s been cold and dreary and I just don’t enjoy taking pictures when it’s so miserable out. That and I’ve been posting a lot on Facebook through the ‘Snowdrops in American Gardens’ FB group. That probably helped as well, and probably saved many a reader from straining an eye muscle from too frequent eye-rolls. I don’t know about elsewhere but optic strain seems to be a problem in this house when I mention snowdrops.
I will round out the season with one last mention of snowdrops. Two years ago I found an amazing clearance deal on bulk snowdrops and planted about 300 Woronow’s snowdrops (Galanthus woronowii) late in the season. As fate would have it, great joy is often tempered with tragedy so of course they were nearly all destroyed by a brutal freeze just as they were coming up that first year. This year it’s been better though, and a few of the survivors are actually strong enough to put up a flower. Green tipped snowdrops are always a pleasant find and there are only a few green-tipped woronowii, so finding this one was a real treat.
In between snowstorms I’ve been ‘that guy’ trimming back perennials, cleaning out beds and hauling mulch on the day before six more inches are predicted. To be honest I started in February when we had our first warm spell, but it was only last week that the far end of the front border finally lost enough of its snow cover that I could finish up. For those who don’t already know, my mode of attack for spring cleanup is trim it all back to the ground with the hedge trimmer, rake most of it onto the lawn, run it all over with the lawnmower and bag it up for mulch. As a finishing touch I cut the lawn real short and bag that as well so that everything looks obsessively neat and green and ready for spring.
Not to rub my garden cleanup obsession in too much but I actually finished the last of the spring cleanup yesterday. It doesn’t all look pretty, but at least there will be no dead stalks and dried weeds to bother me in May.
All the cleanup has distracted me from seed starting, of which I’ve gone overboard with this year. The cold left me inside way too long and I’ve been up to just about everything else except the starting of tomato seedlings which should have sown two weeks ago. I’m sure I can find one at the nursery if things get desperate. Much better now to focus on the unnecessary native southeastern NA fern spore dust which has miraculously done something over the last few weeks. I spend way too much time admiring the green fuzz inside a baby food container, but to be honest I still can’t believe the dust I sprinkled on top had done anything.
I’ll leave you with even more evidence of snow day idleness. Coleus plants ready for new cuttings to be taken, and way too many succulents. I started even more a few weeks ago and still have absolutely no plans for what to do with them, so we’ll see where this ends up. Maybe they can go outside Tuesday even though that does nothing to answer the question of what to do with them.
In the meantime enjoy whatever weather comes your way and I hope spring has either found you or is well on its way. Hopefully the weather doesn’t turn too nice though, I still need to start a few tomatoes…. and plant some pansies, since I may have bought some pansies 🙂