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Spring Has Sprung: GBBD, April 2020

April 15, 2020

Despite several inches of new snow less than a week ago, spring has definitely sprung in my Maine garden. The slope by the driveway is center stage at this time of year, with a cheerful display of crocuses.

hillside crocuses

I love the variety of colors in these crocuses, and the bees love them, too.

Crocus blooms-001

Crocuses aren’t my only flowers this Bloom Day.

A few blue hyacinths are blooming in the Blue and Yellow Border. blue hyacinths
red maple flowers against blue sky And red maple (Acer rubrum) flowers are blooming against a blue sky.
But the surest sign that spring has truly sprung is this butterfly, the first of the season, spotted in the garden yesterday. first butterfly

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see April blooms from gardens where the season is more advanced.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2020 9:35 pm

    Is red maple native?! It happens to be one of the maples that quite well here, even without much chill. Although I miss the old Norway maples (that were rather unpopular anyway), I really like red maple as a street tree for urban areas. It is probably more complaisant with concrete than Norway maple is (although I had minimal problems with Norway maple).

    • April 16, 2020 9:47 pm

      Tony, I checked the USDA Plants Database, and it turns out that Acer rubrum has a huge native range — the entire eastern half of North America, from James Bay in the north south to Florida, from the Canadian maritimes in the east to as far west as Texas and Oklahoma. I think that wide range says a lot about the adaptability of this species. In New England, it has quite a few common names that seem to reflect a variety of conditions in which it is commonly found. I’ve heard it called “swamp maple” because it grows in wet areas, and “rock maple” because it grows on ledge. It also grows readily in my loamy sand. In Maine, red maple is not only native, it is the most widespread native tree. Norway maple, by contrast, is on the state’s prohibited invasive plant list.

      • April 16, 2020 10:44 pm

        That is part of what people here dislike about it. Most people in the Santa Clara Valley are from somewhere else, and a long time ago, most were from the East. Some of those from the Northeast were aware of how invasive Norway maple is there.

  2. Kris Peterson permalink
    April 15, 2020 10:28 pm

    Your crocus are beautifully backlit in that first shot, Jean.

  3. April 16, 2020 9:13 pm

    WOW, do you need more crocus? Beautiful carpet.
    -Ray

    • April 16, 2020 9:50 pm

      Ray, I’ve been very happy with how these crocuses have filled in since I planted 350 of them, 5 to a hole, four years ago. So far, the clumps have gotten bigger every year. And it is so great to have flowers ready to bloom as soon as the snow melts (or even before it melts).

  4. April 17, 2020 9:52 am

    Hello Jean, I love your stands of crocus, they look so healthy and vibrant, all your hard work with the soil on this slope has really paid off! I’m sure the bees are loving it too. I think I recognise some of the varieties – they look the same as what we have.

    • April 21, 2020 3:43 pm

      Sunil, The crocuses are pretty much the only thing blooming in my garden during March and April, so I’m glad they do well here. This spring, as the snow melted, I found two piles of crocus bulbs dug up and cached by some member of the rodent family, but the loss of those bulbs to this year’s display was not particularly noticeable. (I’ve put them all away in a paper bag in hopes of replanting them in the fall.)

  5. Molly Wickwire permalink
    April 17, 2020 1:13 pm

    How nice to see a butterfly so soon

    • April 21, 2020 3:45 pm

      Molly, I’ve never see one this early before. I think this was a Question Mark butterfly; usually, the first ones I see are the Eastern Tiger Swallowtails in late May. I’m hoping that my efforts to add more native plants in the past few years will increase the numbers and varieties of butterflies visiting my garden.

  6. April 18, 2020 10:36 am

    Love all those Crocuses!

  7. Pat Leuchtman permalink
    April 18, 2020 2:43 pm

    I love your crocuses too. I have a very few planted in a small plot next to the sidewalk. What surprised me this year was the explosion of grape hyacinths. The fact that their foliage lasts all winter seems miraculous. I am going to have to find a new place for them. They will soon be crushing the daylilies. I also have to say how much I admire your careful planning for planting. I try, but . . . .

    • April 21, 2020 3:50 pm

      Pat, I would love to have grape hyacinths. I planted a bunch of them early in my gardening career here, but they all disappeared after a couple of years. Given their success in your garden, I’m wondering if they prefer more moisture than I can provide. This fall, I’m hoping to tuck in about 150 daffodil bulbs between the perennials on the new front slope. That way, when the crocuses on the side slope fade (as they are doing now), the daffodils could take over.

  8. April 24, 2020 12:24 pm

    Such beautiful photos. Our crocus flowered back in February.

    • April 28, 2020 8:56 pm

      Spring comes late here — but it is all the sweeter because we have to wait for it.

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