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Spring Is Springing (s..l..o..w..l..y)

March 31, 2013

crocus blooms in sun

I got back from Maine a week and a half ago to find crocuses blooming in my Gettysburg garden. But in the days since, my plants have seemed to be in a state of suspended animation, with spring advancing at a glacial pace. We have had below average temperatures and cold northwest winds for weeks on end; and on one morning recently, my crocuses looked like this.
daffodil buds Slowly, though, spring really is springing. The daffodils have begun to show buds.
New growth is visible on Pulmonaria and bleeding hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) in the front garden.
pulmonaria foliage bleeding hearts emerge
And buds have formed on the viburnum. viburnum bud

The buds on the forsythia in the back garden look as though they are about to burst open any minute. However, it seems as though they have looked that way for weeks and only one brave flower has bloomed.

forsythia buds gburg forsythia brave flower

One day soon, though, I will come home from work and look out the patio door or get up in the morning and go to the upstairs window that looks down on the garden, and I will gasp to see the forsythia in its full blooming glory. When that happens, the delight I feel will be all the greater because of this spring’s long slow tease.

32 Comments leave one →
  1. March 31, 2013 11:52 am

    My earliest crocus have begun blooming, too! Happy spring!

    • April 6, 2013 5:06 pm

      Jason, It’s been slow, but it’s really happening. There’s a huge star magnolia along my walk to work that started to open yesterday. My crocuses are still in bloom and have now been joined by tete-a-tete daffodils, and I think the forsythia is going to bloom tomorrow (finally!). I’m very much looking forward to the weeks to come, my favorite time of year in southern Pennsylvania.

  2. March 31, 2013 12:05 pm

    Jean how slow and special my spring has been ….I think our spring has been a bit better as the snow has stayed south in PA. We will have a cold wave for a few days and then back to 40s and 50s. Lots finally blooming, but it will be a slow, slow spring….and I am OK with that.

    • April 6, 2013 5:08 pm

      Donna, I like a slow spring after everything starts to bloom, but I’ve been chomping at the bit for the blooming to begin.

  3. March 31, 2013 12:35 pm

    We are traveling back to Maryland April 4 & 5 and look forward to seeing spring happen there – last year was so warm that all our flowers from bulbs had disappeared by the time we got back. They say that the unprecedented ice melt last year has pushed the jet stream down into Alabama and that is why our spring has been so slow to happen (or at least cycle back and forth for so long). We have had beautiful weather in FL with cool mornings but most days into the 70’s for all 3 months we have been here. Glad you will be able to watch it all bloom and blossom in front of your eyes and nose! Happy Easter!

    • April 6, 2013 5:12 pm

      Shenandoah, It seems as though your timing has been perfect this year; you should get to see the whole spring show unfold in Maryland. Last year, when I came back from Maine the 3rd week in March, the ground was an amazing patchwork of bright yellow forsythias and pink magnolias as we descended into BWI. This year, 2 weeks later, those flowers have barely begun to bloom.

  4. March 31, 2013 2:41 pm

    The viburnums are sending out leaves and the buds are starting to break here in Zone 8. The peonies have broken up through the soil and soon we will see their leaves as well, so yes, spring is on its way.

    • April 6, 2013 5:13 pm

      Charlie, I am watching buds on daffodils and tulips starting to poke up and unfurl their leaves. Today, the maple trees in my neighborhood started to bloom. I love this time of year.

  5. March 31, 2013 2:42 pm

    Will it ever end! I read that England has had the coldest Easter on record. And it isn’t even a particularly early one.

    • April 6, 2013 5:15 pm

      Jack, we’re starting to get some more normal spring temperatures here, but one morning this week, the temperature was only 19F (-7C); I had to dig out my winter coat, hat and mittens to walk to work.

  6. March 31, 2013 4:22 pm

    I’ve had crocus bloom and leave in some warmer spots, and some others that are just starting to bloom now. It is a slow spring, but I love the process. Enjoy every second of it!

    • April 6, 2013 5:19 pm

      Kevin, It’s been so unseasonably cool here that my crocuses are still going strong — and the daffodils are beginning to join them. Once the blooming starts, I don’t want hot weather that will speed everything up — but I wouldn’t mind 50s-60s instead of 40s!

      • April 7, 2013 12:02 am

        I feel your chill. There was a wind chill factor this morning, and wind chill is not a phrase I enjoy hearing when I had big plans to rake the yard. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  7. Helen Johnstone permalink
    April 1, 2013 4:15 am

    Spring is taking forever here in the UK too. We had snow a week ago and it has only just melted and we have cold winds as well. My viburnum looks just like yours although the leaves seem so limp, I am hoping they will perk up soon. The only cheering thing is that when you walk round the garden and look carefully there are lots of shoots appearing

    • April 6, 2013 5:21 pm

      Helen, At least our spring snow melted in about a day. Spring snow that sticks around is much harder to take! My viburnum is deciduous, so it’s only leaves are some brown remains from last year that never fell off. I hope you have mild temperatures and lots of blooms soon.

  8. April 1, 2013 12:28 pm

    Much the same here Jean, the Spring sunshine is so much cheerier than it was a few weeks ago.

    • April 6, 2013 5:44 pm

      Alistair, We’ve been having lots of sunshine, too, and I love how quickly the days are getting longer. I’m looking forward to mild spring temperatures that will allow me to keep the windows cracked open so that I awake to the sound of birdsong.

  9. April 1, 2013 7:39 pm

    The forsythia blooms creep up on me as well. I looked at them this weekend, and they were in bud form. Today, they are blooming.

    • April 6, 2013 5:46 pm

      Michelle, I feel as though my forsythia are like the watched pot. Every day, I look out expecting to see them in bloom, but not yet. Maybe tomorrow! If yours are in bloom in northern Virginia, mine shouldn’t be far behind in southern PA.

  10. April 2, 2013 5:40 am

    Wow Jean, your crocuses are spectacular, but where are the snowdrops. Sorry for looking for it, as i have a notion that they mostly grow together, haha. But of course it is alien for most of us in the tropics, have seen them just once in Turkey.

    • April 6, 2013 5:47 pm

      Andrea, I confess to never having planted snowdrops. I love white flowers in the heat of late summer — but after the whites and greys of winter, it’s bold color that I’m after!

  11. April 3, 2013 7:49 pm

    Maybe the slow spring and cooler temperatures will allow you to enjoy those blooms a little longer? My concern here this year is it will warm up too quickly and all the pretty spring blossoms will be very short lived.

    • April 6, 2013 5:50 pm

      Marguerite, I agree; I don’t want hot weather that will speed up the blooms, and the cold temperatures have certainly made for an exceptionally long crocus season. On the other hand, I’m past ready to put away my winter clothes!

  12. April 4, 2013 4:41 am

    Jean, here (Majorca) we also had a kind of suspension of spring time for a week with very cold air and high winds, but early this morning in my jogging I saw wildflowers blooming everywhere! It looks like I’spend a weekend foraging for floral arrangements! But like marguerite my concern is it might go too fast and I want a real flowering spring. meanwjile enjoy your beautiful crocus!

    • April 6, 2013 5:52 pm

      Lula, I bet that profusion of Majorca wildflowers is a sight to behold. I hope it lasts a while for you. I am very definitely enjoying this extra long crocus bloom period. I’m even hoping that i might get to see the crocuses blooming in my Maine garden when I get up there in a few weeks.

  13. Astrid permalink
    April 5, 2013 7:36 pm

    Hi Jean
    I love that shot of the crocus in the snow – so lovely and obviously, extremely hardy. I sympathize – spring has been slow in arriving in Ontario as well but sometimes I think that’s better than having instant heat. Then flowers and shrubs just tend to explode. So much nicer to watch them blooming the way nature intended – gradually.

    • April 7, 2013 1:58 pm

      Astrid, The crocus bulbs have established themselves and naturalized beautifully in that flower bed. While I can appreciate the beauty of them soldiering on through the snow, I especially love to see them with their faces fully opened and turned up toward the sun. We’re at the point now where the temperatures have gotten up to normal, but most things still aren’t blooming because it has been so dry. We have April showers forecast for this week, so I’m hoping that will encourage forsythia and daffodils to finally bloom.

  14. April 5, 2013 11:15 pm

    Jean, looking at your beautiful crocus makes me want to try to grow them again. (Bulbs don’t seem to be my forte.) That color saturation is such a breath of fresh air compared to the drab grayish brown of everything else.

    I have to be honest – it feels SO good to be talking about gardening again, even if it’s a little ‘grousing’ for the moment! ;D

    • April 7, 2013 2:01 pm

      Shyrlene, Despite my grousing about how cool it has been, it has been wonderful to have the crocus flowers last so long this year. I agree with you about their color and what a great antidote they are to the late winter blahs. (I have a feeling that photo is going to make it into next year’s calendar.)

  15. April 6, 2013 4:45 pm

    Hi Jean, some plants have been significantly delayed but the same high pressure system that continues to drag in cold air from the east is also giving us a run of bright, very sunny days and our south-facing back garden is getting bathed in sunshine. I’m watching the forecast like a hawk, looking for signs that we have had the last frosts and the last of the snow.

    • April 7, 2013 2:04 pm

      Sunil, My back garden here is Pennsylvania is south-facing, but it doesn’t have anything (like a wall) to trap the heat. I’ve been noticing some delightful blooms along the front foundations of some south-facing houses along my walk to work. Like you, I hope we are done with frost (especially since the first of the Magnolias have begun to bloom).

  16. April 10, 2013 8:53 am

    Hi Jean, isn’t it lovely to see those first shoots appearing? The forsythia in my back garden isn’t showing any sign of life, yet there is one in full bloom in a front garden across the road. I assume it’s because it gets more direct sun at this time of year. I hope as soon as the forsythia starts to flower most other things will follow. Hope you enjoy watching your plants emerge from their slumber. Best Wishes.

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