March weather is variable, for better and worse

Though the gardener barks at the chilly breezes, he is aware that weather is variable, particularly in March when there might be temperatures in the seventies and teens, sometimes within the same week. Still, he has been spoiled by the mild temperatures of late winter, and now he pouts over a period of cold. Flowers of magnolias and camellias have spoiled in the freeze, which is hardly unusual. and the gardener is anxious to again feel the warming sun on his back. Perhaps next week.

Leatherleaf mahonia (Mahonia bealei) began to flower in late February. it has weathered the cold without a problem, but now is just past its peak. If temperatures warm up, bees will pollinate flowers so that blooms are followed by grape like fruits. Be warned that birds will spread seeds, with seedlings that are not prolific, but often must be weeded out.

Despite temperature swings that encouraged, then damaged early growth, the garden is ready for spring. Many flowers have weathered the cold, and while the fate of emerging leaves is still in question, the results have not been disastrous. All that is required for a satisfactory result is a change from this miserable cold.

Often, I lose track of which hellebores are planted hybrids, and which are seedlings from the hundreds that germinate each year. This one, a seedling that is oddly appealing, has been transplanted after growing for two years near its parent plant.
While double flowered hellebores attract attention, this simple single flowered hybrid is as splendid as any. Hellebores have not been effected by the recent cold.
Paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha) is a favorite in this garden. This late winter flowering shrub is not common for unknown reasons since it is a wonderful bloomer, and a pleasant shrub after flowering.
Buds of spring blooming daphnes are ready to flower with a short period of warmth.
Flowers of the Cornelian dogwood don’t make the show of larger dogwood blooms, but this late winter bloomer is appreciated.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. carolee says:

    Love that paperbush. Will check to see if it is hardy here in central Indiana. I need more flowering shrubs, especially if they will grow near black walnuts.

    1. Dave says:

      When I first planted paperbush it was rated as zone 7, but in more recent years I’ve seen it as zone 6. Don’t believe it. I see damage at zero degrees, and long established plants suffer extensive stem dieback at three to six degrees below. This winter wasn’t challenging at all, but I suspect that we haven’t seen the end of cold winters.

  2. DeniseinVA says:

    Hi Dave, I always enjoy my visits here. Always feel I learn something and your posts are always very interesting to read. Thank you 🙂

  3. aheffo says:

    Hello, very inspiring photos. My Mum in Ireland suggested that I grow Mahonia in NYC I’m not sure if I’ve even seen it in here ?!. I love Hellebores too. I look forward to Spring which officially begins tomorrow.

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