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Ice Out!

May 4, 2015

May brought the true arrival of spring in Maine. On May 1, the last of the ice and snow banks disappeared from my garden. By Friday morning, the mountain of snow by my front porch had dwindled to this

snow remnant

…and by the end of the day it was gone.

spring cleanupAs I waited for the snow to melt and for the excess moisture to drain from the soil, I worked on spring clean-up of flower beds. I forget how much mess is buried under all that snow during the winter. But, after many wheelbarrow loads of stems, spent foliage, and fallen leaves have been removed, I have the satisfaction of seeing new growth and flower beds ready for the new garden season.

gold heart new growthMay has also brought sunshine and warmer than average temperatures. As the soil warms, plants are shooting up and flowers are appearing. In the serenity garden, the bleeding heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) cultivar ‘Gold Heart’ has put on a growth spurt and the hellebores are blooming. (I know these last are considered winter flowers in many places, but here they signal the arrival of spring.)

hellebores in bloom

Welcome, spring!!

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Laurin Lindsey permalink
    May 4, 2015 9:33 pm

    And exciting time of year with new growth! We are just about to head into summer here in Houston with temps getting into the 90’s very soon. Almost a season ahead of Maine. Happy spring!

    • May 6, 2015 8:39 pm

      Laurin, We may catch up with you pretty quickly. As is typical here, if you blink, you can miss spring altogether. Three days after the last of the snow melted, the temperature hit 80F! I am enjoying having all the windows open and eating my meals out on the porch, and I can barely remember all those months of cold and snow :-).

  2. May 4, 2015 10:02 pm

    Nice to see things responding so quickly to the warmer weather. I really like the golden bleeding heart but have reminded myself a few times that I don’t need any more plants with golden foliage!

    • May 6, 2015 8:44 pm

      Bittster, The golden bleeding heart is lovely — and, happily for me, I don’t have lots of other plants with golden foliage. Because this garden area is in a shady area under big trees at the edge of a woodland, that golden foliage looks like it has a spotlight on it. At this time of year, the emerging foliage of some trees and of Spirea x ‘Magic Carpet’ also echo the color of the ‘Gold Heart’ foliage.

  3. May 5, 2015 9:05 am

    Such a gorgeous time of year, the time when your see those first blooms…

    • May 6, 2015 8:47 pm

      Charlie, This is a gorgeous time of year, made even more so this year by the fact that we are having above-average temperatures. I am getting to enjoy shirt sleeves and sandals, open windows and meals outdoors before the clouds of biting blackflies appear.

  4. May 5, 2015 8:13 pm

    I can imagine your joy at seeing the last of that snow and your burgeoning beds, cleaned up and already jumping into action. Spring is really so different from area to area across the country. Ours arguably starts in February when you’re blanketed in a deep layer of snow and, when spring arrives in your area of Maine, we’re already fast-forwarding into summer. And climate changes appears to be exaggerating the differences further, not that I have records to prove that. Still, the Jacaranda trees and Agapanthus, which I associate with summer here, began blooming in April this year, which seems at least 2 weeks ahead of last year’s schedule.

    • May 6, 2015 8:49 pm

      Kris, Spring comes and goes here in the blink of an eye. The warm weather this week (temperatures more typical of June than May) have sped things up even more than average. I find myself walking around the garden two or three times a day, just to make sure I don’t miss anything.

  5. May 7, 2015 4:20 am

    What a shame your spring is so short, Jean! It’s one of my two favourite times. Lovely to see your shoots of promise!

    • May 9, 2015 11:01 pm

      Cathy, Spring is notorious in Maine for being very long in coming and very short in duration — but sudden hot weather this year has set “blink and you’ll miss it” records. My plants are behaving as though they are on steroids.

  6. May 7, 2015 5:20 am

    And at last your moment of enjoying gardening arrived! yes, welcome spring!

    • May 9, 2015 11:02 pm

      Lula, After having no access to the garden for months, I am now out working in it almost every day. It is a very pleasant time of year.

  7. May 7, 2015 6:20 am

    Phew, and the recovery is so very quick.

    • May 9, 2015 11:06 pm

      Alistair, Even though the snow only melted eight days ago, I can barely remember it. Plants are growing at a dramatic rate, and I already have bleeding hearts in bloom.

  8. May 7, 2015 12:11 pm

    It’s a treat to read that your garden is coming along so well. I’m away from mine at the moment so knowing what is happening at your place gives me a hint of what is happening at mine.

    • May 9, 2015 11:10 pm

      Pat, I’m not sure if our recent hot weather has gotten up into Quebec, but I think it has. Tomorrow it will be in the mid-eighties (about 30C!). We have gone from snow still on the ground on May 1 to the trees leafing out earlier than normal.

  9. May 8, 2015 2:55 pm

    We were a few weeks ahead of you this year. I wonder if that is normal, since we are zone 5. Are you zone 4?

    • May 9, 2015 11:13 pm

      Jason, I used to be on the border of Zone 4b and 5a, but the re-drawing of the USDA zone boundaries a couple of years ago put me solidly in 5a. I’m guessing that you are probably in zone 5b, though, and that can make a big difference. I don’t think my plants have been behind schedule this year, and it’s not unusual here to still have remnants of snow banks at the end of April. The safe date most people use for putting out tender annuals is May 31.

  10. May 13, 2015 9:19 am

    Oh Jean this is wonderful…we had such a fast melt that and then rain we have had no chance to weed as it was too soggy…we did some projects and then the blast of summer heat hit early and now weeds everywhere and no time…but soon I will weed and I hope to find such lovely plants like yours under the weeds….just beautiful!

  11. May 13, 2015 7:27 pm

    Wow Jean, I can’t believe you have to wait until May before all the snow and ice disappears, now that it’s gone, I bet there’s a whole winter’s worth of pent-up energy waiting to be unleashed on the new garden and the new front garden in particular!

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