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A Slow Unfolding: GBBD, May 2020

May 15, 2020

Maine’s usual flash-in-the-pan spring has been replaced this year by a slow unfolding. This past week, I have been particularly aware of the unfolding of new leaves on deciduous trees. The leaves of red maples (Acer rubrum), which flower in early spring, appeared first. These were followed by new leaves on paper birch (Betula papyrifera) and witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), and then by ashes (Fraxinus) and American beech (Fagus grandifolia). Finally, yesterday, I saw the first tiny leaves of red oak (Quercus rubra).

tiny leaves

lonely daffodilThe garden is in between the flowering bulbs  of early spring and the late spring profusion of blooms on flowering shrubs. In the back garden, one last lonely daffodil bulb is fading. But the promise of things to come is everywhere, in the buds of lilacs, rhododendron, cherry and viburnum.

spring buds 2020

Actual blooms are being provided by spring wildflowers that have been drafted into or have volunteered for service in the garden.

moss phlox flowers These include moss phlox (Phlox subulata),
sweet white violets (Viola blanda), sweet white violets 2020
wild strawberry flowers wild strawberries (Fragaria virginiana),
and carpets of bluets (Houstonia caerulea). bluets blooming

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens, whose garden is particularly beautiful in May. Visit her blog to see hers and others’ May blooms.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Kris Peterson permalink
    May 16, 2020 12:18 am

    After a long winter, you deserve a slowly unfolding spring, Jean! I hope you’re enjoying it.
    Spring already feels like a distant memory here, as we’ve time-warped into summer.

    • May 20, 2020 8:16 pm

      Kris, I’m especially enjoying it this week, when our temperatures have gotten warmer. I like the part of spring closer to summer, when it’s warm enough to open windows and eat meals out on the porch.

  2. May 16, 2020 8:16 am

    You must be thrilled with actually having a spring. Spring was what I missed when I lived in Maine. Stay well.

    • May 20, 2020 8:18 pm

      Carolyn, It’s funny; I’ve become so used to the one-week version of spring in Maine that I get impatient when it goes on for many weeks. (Part of my impatience was impatience for some warmer temperatures, since it was unseasonably cool weather than was fueling our slow unfolding.)

  3. Pat Webster permalink
    May 16, 2020 10:52 am

    What you so rightly describe as the slow unfolding has made this year very special. Daffodils began to bloom just over a month ago and are still going strong. Your trees seem to be leafing out a little earlier than ours but we may quickly catch up — it’s warm and sunny today and higher temperatures are forecast for the days to come.

    • May 20, 2020 8:19 pm

      Pat, The warmer temperatures have arrived here, too, and the trees have leafed out very quickly.

  4. GARY permalink
    May 16, 2020 11:21 am

    I keep a garden log and in the the beginning of March, I thought we’d have a real early Spring here in Maine. Especially after the late Spring last year. I just got a reminder on Google photos from May 15th, 2015, and my Donald Wyman crabapple and Maiden’e Blush lilac had already bloomed. Not this year. I guess one good thing about this Spring is; it’s been so windy it’s helps keep the black flies away. Not so good for bike riding though.Never a dull year in Gardening.

    • May 20, 2020 8:23 pm

      Gary, We did have an early spring this year; my crocuses began to bloom a full two weeks earlier than last year. But then April’s cold weather slowed everything way down, so that lilac blooms and leaves on oak trees are actually later than last year.
      The wind hasn’t kept the black flies away from my garden! I’m now working in my mesh hood to keep them off my face and ears.

  5. May 16, 2020 9:38 pm

    Your photo of Houstonia made me research it. I don’t believe I am familiar with it. Looks like a nice low ground cover for spring.

    • May 20, 2020 8:25 pm

      Ray, It is a lovely groundcover, but I haven’t had much luck getting it to grow where I would like it spread. It seems to love my lean, sandy, acid native soil, but is less happy when I transplant it into amended garden soil.

  6. May 19, 2020 1:49 pm

    It has been a slow, rather cold spring. I do love your Bluets, though.

    • May 20, 2020 8:26 pm

      Jason, Bluets always make me smile. It was a slow, cold spring here, too, but the weather seems to have turned around this week, and they’re promising us temperatures in the eighties on Friday.

  7. June 1, 2020 4:34 am

    Hello Jean, we skipped spring and went straight into summer. Over the last month it’s barely rained and we’ve had 20+C almost daily for weeks. I wonder if that’s what your usual snap Springs feel like, when you go from 0-60 in a few days?

  8. June 5, 2020 6:24 pm

    That wild strawberry is very pretty

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