Earlier this week the temperatures hit 80 degrees! T-shirt weather and I was able to accomplish so much! Plants were growing at an amazing rate. Just keeping the Bloom Journal caught up took several minutes each day. People ask why I bother noting the beginning bloom date of each flower. There are several reasons. First, it causes me to look, REALLY LOOK at the gardens carefully each day and to notice each flower. There were so many years when I was operating a small farm that I never had time to even notice any of the daffodils in my own garden. Secondly, it helps me determine which varieties to order again for planting this fall. If two varieties of orange tulips begin blooming about the same time, but one only last 5 days and the other 10, it’s obvious which to order again. Three, it helps me see the gaps when I do my winter planning for the next season. Four, I can compare years and get a general idea of how the season is running. For instance, here’s the mini true iris that my friend Margaret gave me fifteen years ago.
2016 was the mildest, earliest growing season since I retired and began keeping a bloom record of my home gardens. The mini iris bloomed on March 30. 2018 was our latest spring, with its flowers opening April 19. This year, it opened on April 5 so hopefully we will have a somewhat “normal” season, although there is snow forecast and temperatures in the 20’sF for three successive nights next week. Five, if I notice something in the Bloom Journal from last year, but I don’t see it bloom this year I can investigate. Is the plant still there, or did it die? If it’s gone, was the spot too soggy, or too shady? If it’s there but didn’t bloom, does it need dividing or to be moved, or fertilized, or pruned? Was it important enough in the bloom schedule that it should be replaced, or should something new be given its spot? Without a Bloom Journal no doubt I would have forgotten it was missing.
Yesterday, it was too cool and terribly windy for outdoor work, other than the Bloom Journal entries and moving all the flats that had been hardening off on the outdoor bench back into the greenhouse. Forecasters had issued a freeze warning, not for our county but for those south of us. However, I’ve learned that my gardens are actually in a little cold pocket, and we are on the southern edge of our county, so I took heed. Better safe than sorry. I also put the little poly tunnel over the broad beans, just to be safe. The last thing I did was to pick a bouquet of daffodils whose stems had been bent by the winds, or were lying in the mud.
The earliest daffodils have finished now, and the wide variety of mid-season flowers are stealing the show. Of course, those with huge blooms or very double flowers are those more apt to be wind-damaged. The “British Gamble” on the bottom right with the pale salmon trumpet edges are nearly 4″ across. They are also planted in the Front Island, a very un-protected location. “Tahiti” with soft yellow petals with touches of orange in its double form is also prone to wind because of its heavy head. “Avalon” (the tallest one) is not a flopper, but it’s one of my favorites and just opened yesterday, so I picked one for “joy factor.” Sadly, I can’t find a label for the bright yellow with the deep orange-red short trumpet, or the white with small orange cup with its canary edge. I must go through my old order sheets and sort it out…a rainy day project, or next week when it snows?
Earlier this week, I had almost convinced myself to drag out the deck furniture that is now stored in the gazebo, but decided to do garden work while it was dry enough. Furniture moving could happen when it was muddy. Now I’m certainly glad my priorities were in order. I’d also toyed with the idea of moving the ferns into the gazebo.
On this cloudy, chilly Good Friday the spring teapot will get good use. It’s a day to catch up the transplanting in the basement and to seed the next round of veggies and flowers in flats, because everything needs to be ready once the weather does well and truly break. And to search to see if potting soil can be ordered on-line and delivered. Hopefully, we’ll all be free to hop around soon. Meantime, Happy Easter! Stay home, stay safe, find joy in these more relaxed schedules.