Spring is here?

Today is cold, dreary, and raining. A few degrees colder and this would be wet snow, so just another very typical March morning. In another day or two it’ll be short sleeve weather, then cold, and back and forth, and this is all to be expected. With unsettled weather the norm for March, the one constant is flowers. There are many in the garden, even on the most miserable day, and more every day.

Winter jasmine often flowers in January, or February, or whenever there’s an extended period of mild temperatures. There were a very few scattered flowers in early February this year, but peak flowering is here now, later than usual.

Certainly, a few flowers will be harmed by the ups and downs. The last of the autumn flowering camellias’ buds are bursting open, along with the spring bloomers (Camellia japonica, above and below) that opened a few scattered flowers in February, but fewer than in the two recent very mild winters. The camellias’ blooms are most vulnerable to temperatures that drop into the low twenties, but the browned flowers will be followed by new blooms a few days later.

The early flowering magnolias are showing the slightest bit of color, and twenty five miles east, in the warmer suburbs I see Star magnolias (Magnolia stellata, below) with half opened flowers. These should be protected against a mild freeze, but fully opened blooms are often damaged. In this garden ‘Merrill’ flowers first, followed closely by ‘Royal Star’, then ‘Jane’ and the two yellow flowered magnolias (‘Elizabeth’ and ‘Yellow Bird’). The buds on all are swelling, but safe for now.

Royal Star magnolia a few mild days before flowering.

The early ‘Okame’ cherry (Prunus ‘Okame’, above) is flowering just above the koi pond. On a warm afternoon I watch in delight as the light pink flowers float onto the dark waters. After flowering ‘Okame’ is a pleasant enough green background, but unremarkable except that it grows much more compact than other cherries that are too wide spreading, with shade that is too dark and dry for understory plantings. I’m happy that I took advantage of a mild afternoon on the weekend to yank the yellow flowered passionflower vine (Passiflora lutea) out of the cherry just before it flowered. The vine dies to the ground annually, but climbs twenty feet into the cherry every year to add a bit of color.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. The English Gardener says:

    Thank you for the flowers to brighten up the weather today. Pretty much the same here just south of you. Very English weather I’m afraid. But I know that I have Spring , Summer and Fall to look forward to. I just realized how much I am benefiting from your postings and the information as I need some more winter flowers in my garden so will look back at your postings and take heed of what you have flowering. Then set out to the nearest garden center to get some plants. I really despise grass!
    In terms of the rain, I seem to be increasing the number of rain barrels that I have acquired so benefit from that tremendously when mid July is here.
    Again thank you for the pleasure from reading your posts.
    The English Gardener

    1. Dave says:

      I also despise grass. I’m happy that the project started in late autumn removed close to a third of the remaining lawn, and now that spring has arrived the new planting are starting to go in.

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