On its way

Following a delayed start, spring is on its way, though scattered chilly days are in the forecast, and are not unusual through April. Cold today is not the same as two weeks ago, and rarely will temperatures drop enough in early April to cause significant damage to tender flowers and growth. A few years ago, after a very warm March, tender growth of hydrangeas was injured by twenty degree temperatures, but that was unusual, and recent conditions have delayed rather than encouraged growth.

Pussywillow catkins are covered in pollen in early April.

Certainly, I’m not the lone gardener discouraged by the chilly temperatures in recent weeks. Several seventy degree days in late February teased with hopes for an early spring, which quickly turned to disappointment.

Dr. Merrill magnolia is the first to flower in this garden, a few days earlier than Royal Star.

Delayed flowering has been beneficial for early flowering magnolias that are a few weeks late, and now are less likely to be damaged by freezing temperatures. Some buds that were beginning to open were slightly damaged by nineteen degree temperatures ten days ago, but most flowers are opening without damage, and there is a chance that flowers might get through the week without suffering a freeze. Flower buds of the purple flowered ‘Jane’, and the pale yellow ‘Elizabeth’, have begun to open, but it will be another week or two before these are in full flower.

Royal Star magnolia grows with a shrubby habit, as wide as it is tall, with denser branching than other magnolias and more flowers.

Flowering of the yellow, threadleaf ‘Ogon’ spirea has been scattered since mid February, so there are slightly fewer blooms in early April. Typically, bright yellow leaves are not seen until flowers fade, but this year there is a yellow background for the white blooms.

Yellow leaves show through the white blooms of Ogon spirea.

Yesterday, I dug and trashed an ‘Ogon’ from the front garden. There is another nearby, and ‘Ogon’ is a bit unruly in its growth so two shrubs were one more than I could tolerate. A good ball of roots was dug, and I briefly considered planting it somewhere out back. But, I decided otherwise, so I stripped as much soil as possible and dumped it in the brush pile. For a moment, I considered planting one of the new daphnes in this spot, but decided that the sunlight exposure was marginal, and daphnes are worthy of planting in a more ideal location.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Wow, our ‘Royal Star’ finished bloom quite a while ago and is now foliating. I really wish the star magnolias did better here. Most other magnolias do just fine.

    1. Dave says:

      This is several weeks late for star magnolias to flower. Usually, they flower the first week of March, but it was a very cool month that slowed flowering and leafing.

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