April 16, 2011

We're Late

How late can spring be and still call herself spring?  After the most brutal winter in years, New Englanders are being subjected to a cool spring, with freezing or near freezing temperatures overnight and cold blustery winds in the daytime.  Nothing abnormal -- it's all part of the natural variation of seasons, but c'mon.   It's late.  I paid my income taxes already.

The 'Okame' cherry just won't open her buds.  It's the earliest of all the flowering cherries to bloom, and it's a lovely light pink.  Last year, which was very warm very early, this cherry was in full bloom on March 31.  Look at her now, April 16, holding fast and tight to those buds.

It's not just my faulty recollection; I have pictures and they are automatically dated, and they show this tree in glorious fluffy full color more than two weeks earlier last year.

In fact, I apparently had a creative burst a year ago on April 16, and I took about 40 photos of the entire yard, and everything was leafed out or blooming!  The redbuds were starting to bloom their intense magenta and the ornamental pear was a haze of white blossoms.  The funny bottlebrushes of the fothergillas were completely out. The daffodils were sunning themselves happily.
April 16 last year
the same daffodils April 16 this year

The tulips were up.  This year there are none, zero, not a single tulip peeking through the cold soil, but that is because of the voles, another lament that I can add to my woes about weather.

It was all too early last year, and that was just as much an anomaly as this year is.  But after such a long winter, this interminable waiting, weeks of waiting now, is wearing on me.

Thank goodness for the dwarf forsythia.  Its cheerful yellow against the bare red stems of the redtwig dogwoods provide the only spring color for my starved eyes.

You may recall that I planned to take out the long low lumpy line of dwarf forsythias that looked so bad along the foundation.  I did.  I took them all out last week, except for this one remaining shrub.  I left this one to anchor the corner.  This one looked the best and had a decent form and so it stayed.

As if to justify being saved from the shovel, this one 'Golden Peep' dwarf forsythia has completely redeemed my faith in a tardy, slow spring.  Maybe I should threaten all the other spring bloomers in my garden. . . go after them with the intent to remove and replace them, and see if they step up like this gorgeous little forsythia has.


  1. Your little forsythia is just being thankful that you did rip it out. This has been a weird spring. We have gone from record highs to record lows to record highs and back to normal. The garden is all confused. Our redbud blooms were mostly frozen off then they developed lots of blooms along the trunk of the tree. Strange.

  2. I have also been on a quest to pull out my forsythia (for the 2nd consecutive spring), except that mine aren't so dwarf! I've made some decent progress, but there's much more to go, and i will quit once they leaf out.

  3. Lisa, Your garden is confused and mine is sulking!

    Fern, Good luck with the forsythia. Mine were very small dwarf ones, I can't imagine trying to wrest big mature forsythia out of the ground.

  4. Your dwarf forsythia is beautiful and looks fabulous next to the red twig dogwoods! I am glad you left it! No doubt you will enjoy your spring all the more for having to wait so long for it.

    What you need are a couple of friendly snakes to reduce your vole population! I have lost plenty of plants to voles, including a weeping Japanese maple given to me by my mother before her death, so I understand your frustration!

  5. It's been so slow to warm up here. I can't wait for warmer weather.

  6. One of the things I love about blogging. I can revisit the previous years and see what was blooming and when. Hold on, spring is on her way.

  7. Deborah, Thanks. I didn't realize snakes are good vole control. I have never seen a snake here, but we must have them.

    Meemsnyc, it's been cold all over the northeast, but NY and even the shoreline of CT are waaay ahead of my tardy garden!

    Marguerite, I find blog recordkeeping, all dated and photographed, a very good tool. In fact, I keep a separate journal blog that records all the mundane facts of my garden life and it is remarkable to go back one year!

  8. Your forsthia looks great with the Red Twig Dogwood. I hope you finally get some warm weather soon. I'd be pulling my hair out or just hiding under an electric blanket at this point.

    Deb's right about the snakes ~ and I bet they love the wild common area just beyond your gardens.

  9. Sweetbay, Thank you! Warm weather still eludes us. An electric blanket may be the only answer.


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