Uh Hello Spring?

Spring will start Thursday.  Technically it should take off with the spring equinox, but around here Thursday will be the first day.   I’m sure of that.

Today’s high just barely reached the freezing point and yesterday didn’t quite make it, but the forecast shows warming and I’m 100% positive spring will come Thursday and stay…..  unless it doesn’t.  The first winter aconite opened so that’s a hopeful sign, but to see the snowdrops all flat and frozen this morning didn’t warm my heart any.

winter aconite (eranthis)

First blooms of winter aconite (eranthis)

I’d been hoping to get a better picture of the snow crocus in the meadow, but the two warm days were only enough to bring out a few and these quickly became the spring tonic for our local rabbits.  There will be secondary buds coming up, so fingers crossed, but how can I resent the little bunnies for their springtime snacking after the winter they’ve had?  Look at that dead grass…. no vision of spring there.

snow crocus

snow crocus (almost) blooming out in the meadow

The new snowdrops are also just waiting…… This planting of galanthus viridapice (a green tipped snowdrop) has one bulb that is just a little earlier and looks just a little bit off, I suspect it’s mislabeled, perhaps it’s “sharlockii”.

galanthus viridapice

galanthus viridapice? just waiting for warmer weather to open

Also on my mislabeled snowdrop list is this galanthus “Sam Arnott”.  It’s not supposed to be double or green tipped…. also there’s not supposed to be a tulip sprouting there just in front,  maybe I was a little hasty in throwing all the moldy bulbs into the compost… and then using the compost too soon.  Oh the stuff that never gets mentioned in the gardening books 🙂

galanthus sam arnott

galanthus “Sam Arnott” and not galanthus “Sam Arnott”

But until Thursday rolls around, there’s not much else to look at.  I did turn an optimistic corner and started the winter garden changeover.  All the snowdrops and cyclamen were replaced with seedlings of lettuce and broccoli and hopefully by the time they’re a decent size it will be time to go outside.  For now the highlight is a potful of muscari “Valerie Finnis”.  I surprised myself by getting this one chilled and through the winter and then into bloom.  It’s a nice look, too much foliage for my taste, but remember beggars can’t be choosers.

muscari valerie finnis

Muscari “Valerie Finnis” forced indoors under lights

Here’s another reason spring will come Thursday.  My “in the green” snowdrops from Carolyn’s Shade Garden have arrived all safe and sound and need to go outside in the garden (“in the green” because they’re bareroot, actively growing, not dormant bulbs).  They can handle plenty of frost, but the next two nights of 16F (-9C) lows might be too much of an insult for these city drops (Carolyn is located outside of Philadelphia).  I’ll leave them to sit like this on a windowsill for the next two nights with just enough water to keep them wet, but not enough to have them sitting in water.  I’m excited to have them and the plus side to this treatment is I get to admire them close up for a couple days.  The blooming one is “Straffan”.

snowdrops in the green

Snowdrops in the green from Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

So wish me luck.  I don’t often complain about winter but I think I’m done with this one.  The clock’s ticking and I’d like at least three weeks before people start complaining about the heat!

First day of spring?

The sun was out and temperatures crept up to the fifty plus range, so I did what every self respecting suburban boy does when the bad weather breaks. I washed the cars. Donna was pleased, clean cars and an industrious husband are far more respectable than a spouse who shuffles around the yard looking for crocus sprouts, but I couldn’t avoid poking around in the crusty flower beds. Here’s the one right next to the front walk.messy front bed

It was time for the trash and dead bananna plant carcass to dissapear so that there will be room for spring sprouts.  Sure it’s early, but I think everything there will be fine even with a couple more freezes.  I feel much better now.early spring front bedSorry, but I can’t help putting in one more winter aconite and snowdrop photo.  Sure it’s the same two inch plant from an earlier post, but in case you didn’t notice, the subtitle for this blog is “more than you ever wanted to know about my garden”, so to keep it honest I go for the overkill.snowdrops and eranthisA low of 20F is forecast for later in the week and winter hasn’t been completely crushed,  but I’m going to call this past weekend spring (even if it’s just really really early spring).

Next I should consider cleaning the hellebore bed, it could use some attention too.messy hellebore bedThe pussywillow at the end isn’t waiting so I better get on it, but at least for now the winter grime is off the cars and a couple plants have some breathing room.pussywillow

 

Breaking the back of winter

We might be getting close.  It’s still winter, but based on the strength of the sun and melting snow, I’m going to call it late winter.  To me it matters.  If it wasn’t for the low of 17F that’s sitting in the weekly forecast I might even say it’s early early spring…. but not yet.

Winter Aconite (eranthis hyemalis) has joined the ranks of flowers braving the cold.  winter aconite

The cyclamen coum are trying to make a go at it, but really get no respect from the kids….. Actually I have to say they are pretty conscientious about being careful, but when it’s 25F and windy and they have to clean up, things get tossed about a bit.

witch hazel "pallida"The witch hazel is still going strong.    I bet it could use an evergreen background to show off a little better, but I would first need evergreens for that!

The hellebores still have a way to go,  I wouldn’t call this a vision of spring just yet, but there’s hope.  With March coming maybe I can start cleaning this mess up.

winter hellebores