Several of the magnolias are flowering today, with others set for next week. But, cold is on the way, so while already opened flowers of ‘Merrill’ and ‘Royal Star’ will last four or five days (at least) the next batch of blooms might last for only a few hours. Weather in March is variable, but varied to the extreme so that one day might be snowing and two days later the gardener is baking in seventy degree sun. Plants that flower at this time are often adapted to the extremes, but some are not, and if blooms are not ruined by a freeze they might fade quickly in a period of heat.
There is nothing out of the ordinary about this early spring, at least so far. Several inches of snow a week ago are a bit unusual, but we have snow in March, or even early April every few years. It goes away quickly, with a particularly good story when it’s sixty-five or seventy degrees two days later. March and April freezes are always a concern, and probably there’s never been an early spring without a few drops in temperature that endanger flowers, and more concerning, tender, emerging leaves.
In recent years late freezes have damaged emerging leaves of Japanese maples that are sturdy, but slow to recover. A few leaves are out today, but few enough that if these are lost it shouldn’t be a problem. Smaller gardens, with smaller plants might throw a cover over vulnerable plants, but that’s not possible here, and as long as nothing is killed I am curious to see what is damaged and what makes it through various freezes.