I’ve mentally noted, so I must be reminded repeatedly when notes are not written, that the yellow, threadleafed spirea (Spirea thunbergii ‘Ogon’, below) overhanging the pond by the front walk must be chopped after flowering in late March. No matter how unruly, spring flowering shrubs must not be pruned until soon after the blooms have faded or flowers are lost until the following year.
‘Ogon’ flowers before leafing, though bright yellow leaves begin to emerge halfway through the flowering process (below). The shrub has never been pruned, just as most plants in the garden, but it’s shape needs a bit of correction in early April. I mention this since my stopover for the daily reminder reveals a good number of flowers in late January. I don’t believe I’ve seen it flower earlier than the second week of March, and while temperatures have been slightly above averages there have been no recent days resembling early spring.
This early flowering is not likely to result in damage. The period in March when it flowers is often quite chilly, and even the flowers showing today are unlikely to fade unless the cold is extreme. It’s difficult for me to understand why it’s flowering, I chalk this up to “stuff happens”, but while the small white blooms join the chorus in early spring, they’re more treasured today when there are fewer flowers.
As I wander about the garden, mostly piddling but occasionally pulling a weed or dividing dense clumps of hellebore seedlings, I notice my spring absent mindedness where I think for a moment that I must check witch hazels below the driveway for flower buds cracking open, but then I’m distracted and only think about the witch hazels again once my mudders have been pried off and I’m back indoors. Still curious, I head back out and find that while several ‘Arnold Promise’ show the tiniest crack of yellow, several flowers are out on ‘Jelena’ and ‘Diane’.
My distraction and the increased numbers of flowers are indicators, at least to me, that spring is drawing closer. The days when I can’t get enough of the garden are getting nearer. Instead of disappointment in the garden’s bleakness, today I must revisit to catch all its blooms.
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“The period in March when it flowers is often quite chilly, and even the flowers showing today are unlikely to fade unless the cold is extreme. ”
What about this weekend? Another cold snap.
With temperatures in the teens hellebores slump close to the ground, and flowers of witch hazels curl tightly. I won’t be surprised if the spirea’s flowers are damaged in the lower teens, but it is a plant that regularly experiences temperature fluctuations in March.