Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Spring in the Heartland

Anemone coronaria
I love spring. Especially when it's in winter.

Except for a couple of times when we got some snow and ice, this winter has been anything but wintery. It doesn't feel like an extension of fall; it feels more like early spring. In just three more weeks, Punxsutawney Phil and Buckeye Chuck will be crawling out of their holes and telling us if we can expect an early spring or not.

I've got news for them - spring is already here.

All over the country, we hear about temperatures way above normal and it isn't just a fluke of a day here and there either. It's been like this for weeks, and plants are confused.

The daffodils are up...

Narcissus sp.

So are the Crocus...

Crocus fusctotinctus

The irises never really died down...

And the Dutch irises came up several weeks ago. Now all they need are blooms.

Iris x hollandica 'Silvery Beauty' and Felis catus 'Jack'

Magnolia 'Leonard Messel'

I worry about the magnolias, which always form their buds in fall, as do many other shrubs. I worry because they might take this warm weather as a sign that it's okay to just open up and bloom.

But there's no way we'll have extended warm weather. Will we?

If we do, the quince will surely bloom...

Chaenomeles superba 'Crimson and Gold'

Some of the roses still have flower buds on them - "frozen" in time - while others are leafing out.

The Snow in Summer (Cerastium tomentosum) foliage looks as good in winter as it does in summer - although a little shorter.

The 'Autumn Brilliance' fern looks gorgeous as the late day sun shines through its fronds.

Dryopteris erythrosora 'Brilliance'

The red-twig dogwood (Cornus sericea 'Cardinal') has it right, with its wintery red branches, which provide great contrast with the 'Color Guard' Yucca filamentosa.

Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard' and Cornus sericea 'Cardinal'

The hellebores have beautiful green foliage (this is normal) and emerging flower buds (also normal)...

Helleborus sp.

The newly-planted golden feverfew looks as fresh as spring, despite being previously covered by the last snow. I love the frilly chartreuse foliage.

Golden Feverfew (Tanacetum partheneum 'Aureum')

"Best Winter Foliage" award probably goes to Arum italicum. Winter? What's winter?

Arum italicum

The vernal witch hazel is definitely early this year - about two months early.

Hamamelis vernalis

Who would have thought we'd still have petunias growing green in January???

Offspring of Wave™ Petunia, below the flower boxes where the
original Waves™ grew. No blooms, but still...

The biggest surprise in the January garden goes to the hydrangeas, which are leafing out.

St. Francis of Assisi stands watch over the
Hydrangea macrophylla
, in leaf.
In January.

The birds are singing like it's spring too, but I'm certain winter will make a comeback soon. In fact, word on the street is that we're in for some very cold weather by late Thursday, with 2-4 inches of snow expected. Isn't that just like the Midwest?

Winter. Just when we were enjoying spring.


Erin @ The Impatient Gardener said...

I really need to snoop around the garden a bit to see if any of that is happening here. I noticed a roadside shrub (I don't know what sort) was budding on a walk this weekend, and the dogwood branches I cut and put in the window box are doing the same. I think we've been colder than you so I doubt we have many of the same things you're seeing, and I know we don't have pretty foliage, but I really must get out there and check the vernal witch hazel. Alas, we're due to get 6 inches of snow tomorrow, the first of the winter. I knew it was too good to be true.

Sue said...

We've got strange things going on up here in northern Michigan too. I saw our lilies were up about 4 inches yesterday and my snapdragons are still green and healthy. Our "normal" snowfall by now should have been over 5 FEET. We've had 4" this winter. As a skier and snowmmobiler that moved here for the snow---I'm disappointed. As a gardener, I'm very concerned.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I have been enjoying this springy winter this year too. I have even been out pulling weeds. The snow is supposed to hit here at 9:30 this morning. We will see...

Mary S. said...

We're also seeing budding in MN, BUT we went from 53 on Tuesday afternoon to 14 this morning! And we have no snow cover. Yikes!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I hear you. Just yesterday I noticed my Snowdrops up and blooming their socks off in my garden here in Brooklyn, NY. The Muscari Grape Hyacinths are not far behind. Irises also never died down, and buds are forming on the hydrangea! We are also expecting below freezing temperatures over the weekend, but no snow. Who knows what will happen the next few months or how it will affect plants! Yikes.

Kylee Baumle said...

Erin ~ Yes, it is winter after all, and no doubt we WILL get some nice snows out of it. It's due here later tonight.

Sue ~ Lilies! I looked for those here and they're still underground. Yes, I think your disappointment is shared by many over the lack of snow.

Lisa ~ I've been pulling out weeds, too! And grass, where it's creeping into the gardens. Getting snow yet?

Mary ~ I know, it's crazy, isn't it? Lots of fluctuation. We're to get snow later tonight, so hopefully it will be heavy enough to protect the plants from the cold temps.

Aimee ~ When Mom and I were in NYC two years ago, there were snowdrops blooming in Strawberry Fields in Central Park on January 15th and the temps were in the mid-50s. It was wonderful! I think the next weekend, they got a blizzard. LOL.

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