After months of below average temperatures and a winter that sometimes seemed like it would never end, spring has sprung in my Gettysburg, Pennsylvania garden. Temperatures shot up into the 70s at the end of last week and stayed there for four days, and suddenly flowers and trees popped into bloom. Spring in southern Pennsylvania usually unfolds slowly and sweetly, but this feels more like spring in Maine, where you wait and wait and wait and then – Wow!
Forsythia and daffodils are now fully in bloom.
|And hyacinths are beginning to open.|
|In the front flower bed, the Pulmonaria (lungwort) flowers are just about to bloom. (And, in fact, were blooming a few hours after I took this photo.)|
|In the back flower bed, Viburnum x burkwoodii has flower buds that are close to blooming and new leaves.|
All around my neighborhood, pink magnolia trees have also burst into bloom.
After days of warm temperatures and open windows, a powerful cold front swept through here last night, and temperatures plummeted down into the 20s. When I left for work this morning, the daffodil flowers were hanging limply and I feared that frosted magnolia flowers would turn to brown mush.
But the magnolia blooms survived the low temperatures, and by the time I returned home this evening, the daffodils had perked back up. On my walk home, I also saw cherry, pear, and apple trees blooming and even some eastern redbuds (Cercis canadensis) beginning to bloom. Spring is here!
Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see what is blooming this month in gardens around the world.
I had hoped to be able to have forsythia flowers to show today, too; but not yet. They are so close! I think they will pop into bloom on the next reasonably warm, sunny day (maybe tomorrow).
Among the other flowers not quite happening yet are daffodils. Although I pass many blooming daffodils on my walk to work, mine are just now beginning to show lots of visible flower buds.
Thank goodness for spring bulbs. They are an especially welcome sight after this long winter.
Last year at this time, I had crocuses in bloom; and two years ago in the record-breaking warmth of March 2012, forsythia were blooming by this time. This year in late March, forsythia are covered with swelling buds rather than blooms, and my crocuses have not yet emerged from the ground.
But in a month that has continued this winter’s pattern of below-normal temperatures, the spring equinox ushered in a period of gradually warming temperatures and hints of spring. As I walked around Gettysburg, I saw snowdrops, winter aconites, and even some crocuses in bloom. Looking up, I could see trees budding.
By Saturday, temperatures had risen into the 60s (F), and sunshine and mild southwest breezes convinced me that it was time to get out into the garden. I spent about an hour raking fallen leaves and pine needles and removing spent stems and foliage to see what was emerging underneath.
|Especially in the small south-facing flower bed by the patio, I found several promises of spring blooms to come, including rosettes of new growth on sedum, emerging new foliage and buds of daffodils and hyacinths,|
|… and even some new green shoots of daylilies.|
But there are some promises of spring. The days are getting noticeably longer; and even when the temperature is below freezing, the sun is strong enough to melt snow from the roof. At the front of the house, the forsythia is covered with fat buds. But spring blooms are probably still at least a month away.
I have higher hopes of seeing spring soon in my Gettysburg garden. When I left there a week ago, the mountain of shoveled snow in front of my townhouse had melted down to a hill, and the buds on the Viburnum were getting plump. Temperatures in Gettysburg have been in the 50s and 60s while I’ve been away, so I hope to see bare ground when I return in a few days. Maybe there will even be signs of new growth from the crocus bulbs.
Meanwhile, I’m continuing to make do with indoor blooms. Although the forsythia branches that were blooming on my dining room table a month ago have faded and dropped their blossoms, my reluctant Hippeastrum bulbs have finally begun to flower. This is ‘Charisma.’ I love its tissue-paper thin translucent petals.
And, of course, my faithful potted cyclamen continue to bloom enthusiastically.
Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see what’s in bloom this month at gardens from many locations (including some where spring has already arrived).
My potted amaryllis (Hippeastrum) bulbs are much less enthusiastic about this winter’s cold; they tend to sulk in a cool house. I have set up a heating pad arrangement on top of a bookcase in the guest room where I can give them some bottom heat. The two pots given this treatment have both put up flower stalks, and I think one of them will begin to bloom in another week or so. Once these begin to open their flowers, I’ll move them to a room where I can enjoy them and give their space on the heating pad to another pot.
Although I always enjoy these flowering houseplants in winter, the real joy right now comes from the two vases of forsythia branches that I cut and brought in for forcing during a day of warm weather at the end of January. Two weeks later, these are providing a bright promise of spring.
Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see what is blooming this month in gardens, pots and vases around the world.
For more than a year now, I have been intending to update my Garden Tour page to reflect changes in the garden since it was last updated (in 2011), but somehow this task kept falling off the bottom of my to-do list. Finally the updates have been done!
Because I am about to have a new addition built on the front of my house and am in the process of planning a new front garden, this page will become outdated very quickly. I hope to update it at the end of each garden season to reflect the changes that have happened during that year.
|It is mid-winter in my Maine garden; and most plants are in dormancy, slumbering under their blanket of white while building energy for spring. Even after several days of our annual January thaw, there are still several inches of snow cover.|
|Some “winter interest” is provided by spent perennial foliage. I like the gold color of these Amsonia hubrichtii remains against the snow.|
In the Serenity Garden, the ‘Green Mountain’ boxwood provides a welcome green presence. And some tattered hellebore foliage has emerged from beneath the snow.
I know that potted cyclamen have a reputation for being difficult to keep alive, but that has not been my experience at all. All of mine were holiday plants and all are now more than a decade old. My first cyclamen was a holiday gift from a friend 20 years ago and is blooming profusely. In those 20 years, this plant has been watered once a week, repotted once a decade, and fertilized very occasionally. I think the main thing these plants require to thrive is cool. This bright, drafty window ledge in a house that is usually kept at about 60F in the winter and seldom gets very hot, even in summer, is perfect for them. I think many people discard cyclamen prematurely when they stop blooming and go into dormancy. At this point, a new plant will drop all its leaves and look pretty dead. But if you’re a procrastinator and don’t get around to throwing it out, it will reward you with new growth after a few weeks. Over time, as mine reproduced by multiplying their corms, the various corms developed staggered bloom times so that now the plants pretty much have leaves and flowers all year round (although they bloom most exuberantly in the cool months of winter).
Garden Blogger’s Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of every month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see what blooms gardeners from many climates have to share this month.