Spring has taken an odd turn here.  The weather has been fantastic and there’s been time to spend in the garden but I have absolutely no interest in doing anything.  Maybe it’s the lull effect.  Snowdrop season come on so fast and was over so quickly, it was hard to keep that high going.  Then the warm days were followed by two nights of hard freeze which singed the corydalis and melted half the hyacinths, but oddly spared the magnolia buds.  This has become the norm lately, but for some reason the freeze-damaged flowers have me a little bored, and the return to warm days has me hesitant about starting too much transplanting.  Fortunately the front garden looks ok with some spring daffodils, and my little twig of a magnolia cutting has grown into something which finally shows off.

magnolia stellata

Magnolia stellata, probably ‘Royal Star’ anchoring the far end of the front border.  You can see the mother plant from which this plant came from to the right of the neighbor’s house.  

I’m 87% sure last week’s freeze again killed all the barely pea-sized wisteria buds, but the almost open magnolias are fine.  Go figure.

magnolia stellata

This year the flowers have a flush of pink to them, but that will fade to white in a couple days.

Right now, with a nice cover of shredded leaves, the front border seems optimistically weed-free, so even if there is transplanting and thinning to do I can still pretend it’s all under control for a few weeks longer.  A gardener with more foresight and enthusiasm would probably scuffle through the mulch with a hoe now, before the onslaught of seedlings put down roots, but…

daffodil tweety bird

The daffodil ‘Tweety Bird’ flopped a little for the 21F night but has bounced back without a second thought.  I’d say it’s one of my absolute favorites.

As I said, the hyacinths are probably the one bulb which took the biggest freeze-hit.  Some are fine, but many either melted or suffered freeze damage to the flowers.  Of course with all this pessimism running through my veins all I see are frosted flowers, even though I know I’m the only one to see it.

freeze damage hyacinth

It saddens me to see the damage on ‘Woodstock’, but maybe a lost year of flowering will just mean a bigger show next year!

The hyacinths usually lead the garden into full daffodil season, which is also normally a big thing, but last year’s purge of the narcissus beds has left a noticeably smaller show in the back yard.  Again, I’m the only one who notices these things, but I do miss them.

hellebore hgc silvermoon

Maybe “MORE!!!” is the solution I’m looking for.  I could divide up the hellebore ‘HGC Silvermoon’ and spread hyacinths all over… and then wonder how I ended up with so much pink 🙂

Actually the daffodils will be back next year, they just need a year to settle in and bulk up, but what I still want to celebrate is my first self-sown daffodil!

daffodil seedling

‘Holland Sensation'(supposedly) on the left, and a nearly identical seedling to the right.

I had been watching the daffodil seedlings for a few years and of course had all these amazing possibilities in my head, so it was a little bit of a surprise to see a nearly identical child show up.  It’s going to be interesting to see what the others turn out to be since there are quite a few ringing the mother clump… all about a daffodil stem’s length away from the seed source.

tulip bed

Tulips will be next.

Honestly there are still plenty of daffodils to come.  They’re later than normal from the digging and drying and storing process, but there will still be enough.  Tulips on the other hand, there are never enough tulips!  I replanted some of the ones I dug last year, but they were stunted from the ‘in the green’ transplanting process so only about half will bloom this year.  But that’s not a bad thing since the transplanted tulips are showing perfect foliage, and that’s not been the case recently.  The foliage is usually scarred with the pocks and streaks of the tulip fire fungus, and the tulips I didn’t get around to moving are again showing this kind of damage.  I considered fungal sprays, but they all sounded so toxic I was going to just try digging these as well until I saw Neem oil spray.  An organic option which doesn’t sound too eco-toxic so I’m going to give that a try on top of moving them.  I’m not 100% sure when is best to spray, and I’ve never used it before, so please let me know if you have any suggestions.

garden pond

Cleaning up the pond.  Of course the pump broke halfway through.  

Since we ended up on the repulsive subject of tulip fire, let me just stay with the theme and say that pond cleanup is also repulsive and probably the most disgusting part of spring cleanup.  There was a slimy layer of rotten leaves coating everything, with a robust algae population and who-knows-what-else ecosystem of muck.  Even with gloves it would be super-gross, but of course I was too lazy to go find them, so into the unknown my fingers went.  The best part though was when the dog found something delicious in all that muck to chew on.  What a disgusting little beast.  Yuck.

So sorry about that segway into grossness.  It’s probably just a symptom of my dark mood which will evaporate just as quickly as the first tulips open.  In the meantime I wish you all a wonderful and safe week!


15 comments on “Untitled

  1. Paddy Tobin says:

    Your seasons are such a sharp contrast to ours here in Ireland. You would hardly consider our December/January conditions winter as we have snowdrops in flower right through from September to April and spring comes along slowly but surely, a gentle movement of increasing day length and rising temperatures. Snow is rare and frosts are mild. Your spring seems to come as suddenly as somebody opening a door and winter arrives with a door slamming while everything is more gradual here.

    • bittster says:

      I often admire your mild winters and gradual changes in seasons, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t like the wet grey winters without the bright and cold sunshine we get. But the plants sure seem to love it!
      I just saw that next Wednesday is forecast to reach a high of 83F (28C). It’s possible summer is slipping through the same door which we opened for spring… but that doesn’t explain the dusting of snow this morning.
      The weather really is all over!

      • Paddy Tobin says:

        We listened to a talk last evening from a gardener at Chanticleer Gardens and his description of the seasons was in line with yours – a, by our standards, very harsh winter and then a sudden onset and very hot summer with a phenomenal growth rate in plants. Here, everything moves slowly, gently, mildly.

  2. I like Paddy Tobin’s description of our seasons as doors suddenly opening and closing. Though spring often seems like someone keeps running in and out slamming the door endlessly. I planted some Corydalis last year for the first time and they have come up in tiny colorful clumps. Now I have to decide if there is enough sun to plant that gorgeous ‘Woodstock’ Hyacinth, as it would look perfect near them. I would not have recognized it had any problems if you had not mentioned it. After 24 years of major water gardening, we are redoing the garden to eliminate our ponds. We can’t do any cleanup bare-handed as we have ducks who bring in swimmer’s itch. A nasty little problem if you don’t get thoroughly cleaned off.

    • bittster says:

      Haha, I loved your description of our spring being like someone running in and out and slamming doors endlessly. It really feels like that this week!
      Yuck. I do not like the idea of swimmers itch at all! Although sad to see it go, I’m looking forward to seeing what becomes of your pond. But the deck redo will be a hard act to follow!

  3. Eliza Waters says:

    Must be the Galanthophile’s post partum depression. 😉 Tulipmania will hopefully cure it.
    Your Magnolia looks lovely. M. stellata is a tad hardier than M. soulangeana, so I think it can take a bit of a frost.
    Many of the daffs you are missing are doing well here, foliage is up and I’m looking forward to seeing them bud up and bloom. I feel like a little kid waiting for Christmas!

    • bittster says:

      Nearly two weeks later and I’m still worrying about magnolias! The frost last night finished off the stellata and browned ‘Jane’. It wasn’t nearly as cold as our first freeze, but I guess it’s all in the timing. Still I love their explosion of color so early in the year… even though Cherries blooms etc are quite a bit hardier.
      I hope the daffs give you many years of color! I just hope I didn’t mess up too many names or send overly stunted bulbs 😉

  4. The Magnolia and Daffodils are looking great. The weather has been pretty topsy-turvy, but that seems to be the new normal.

  5. Nlrob says:

    I trust a local organic gardening supply implicitly who recommends Neem.

  6. Cathy says:

    You reminded me why I don’t want a pond… 😉 Some of my hyacinths and daffodils in pots suffered severe frostbite too, but yours seem to have done well on the whole. Love the Magnolia. (Do you call it a tulip tree too?) Not long till the real tulips open now! 😃

    • bittster says:

      Yes, I grew up calling them tulip trees! It always seemed the perfect name until I happened to read a more refined gardener call the name silly. So I stopped for a few years, until I decided the silly thing was me listening to them. Now I call them tulip trees again 🙂

  7. I think all of your weed seeds must have traveled “air mail” to my garden, LOL! There is bittercress everywhere I turn, and two days of rain have awakened all the dandelions. I am keeping my eyes peeled for the first signs of Japanese stiltgrass, because now I am fully armed with Acclaim Extra. Re: freezes, I lost about 80% of the flower buds on both of my dwarf Pieris ‘Bonsai’ a couple of weeks ago. The ‘normal size’ pieris weren’t affected at all. Weird.

    • bittster says:

      The dandelions are speckling the back lawn with yellow and I’m quite pleased. Unfortunately I’m not quite as pleased with the bittercress which I’m trying to take care of before it goes to seed, and the newest weed in this garden… chickweed.
      I battled it in every other garden, but for some reason it only just made it’s way here two years ago.

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