Dear Diary…Spring’s Emergence 2024

the Astonishing Magnolia x loebneri ‘Ballerina’…undamaged by late frosts.

I’ve always thought of this blog as a gardening journal, so here’s my thoughts on Spring 2024.

I don’t know what it’s been like in your neck of the woods, but the weather pattern here in southern New England this spring has had us on edge. We keep expecting something extreme to happen, like a mid April snowstorm. Actually,  it’s been a good weather pattern  for the garden…lots, lots and lots of rain (could use more sun!) and consistently cool temperatures since mid March.  No unexpected frosts, well, err, until last night, when I thought the predicted low temp was 40F. There was actually a light frost…no serious damage…just a tinge on the tender new foliage on plants we were hardening off.  It looks like we’re in store for possible dips in temperature this week, so last night was a reminder to provide overnight protection.

This consistently cool but not freezing weather means that the early flowering trees blossoms lingered, undamaged by late freezes or a sudden summery hot day.  The Hellebores have put on a grand show for more than 6 weeks now.   The Epimedium are beginning to offer blossoms…some emerge a little earlier than others, but they will carry on into early mid May.

Helleborus ‘Grape Galaxy’

Epimedium grandiflorum ‘Yubae’

A few Jeffersonia dubia seedlings appear (from last year’s dropped seed). A rare find for us!

Some little plantlets near this fancy Podophyllum…not sue if they are seedlings or plants generated by bits of root, disbursed by the voles.

For the past few years, we’ve decided to forgo a fall cleanup, and do a staggered one in the spring. It’s true the gardens aren’t neat as a pin, and yes it’s hard to leave those dead stalks when so much new growth  is surging. What I have noticed though, due to this delayed removal of lingering dead leaves are many more self sown seedlings…from Woodland Peonies, Hellebores, Podophyllum, Corydalis in new color variations, even Jeffersonia dubia!  I will lift some of these seedlings when they are mature enough, but I also think encouraging these  early perennials to naturalize is important too!

Epimedium ‘Black Sea’

I do hope we get a 4 solid weeks of spring temperatures this year (my optimistic wish is for a range between 45-70F) .Please, please  Weather Goddess do not let this chilly early spring weather turn quickly into hot summer temperatures.

A lovely double white Hellebore, still sending out blossoms.

How is spring enfolding where you garden? Pleasantly, I hope.

4 thoughts on “Dear Diary…Spring’s Emergence 2024”

  1. Your spring is looking gorgeous and sounding better than what we have experienced: Not enough rain and too many extremely warm days followed by freezing nights. My Paeonia mairei buds have been affected and I just noticed Ligularia ‘Chinese Dragon’ is all collapsed. It had been up a good foot or more. However, Fritallaria radeana came through frosts and 4-5 inches of heavy snow in full bud and bloom with no problems. Go figure. You should plant some of that beautiful ‘Black Sea’ Epimedium by Spotty Dotty. My Dotty has seedlings in long rows on both sides of the mother plant. Rhizomes I assume.

  2. Influenced by a birdwatching friend, I have changed my gardening philosophy – not a mad “naturist,” but tending in that direction. It has totally revived my interest in gardening! I also forewent cleanup last fall, and also have more seedlings, including plants I used to consider “weeds” (e.g., aster divaricatus). I also notice a lot more birds picking through the detritus. It’s great to have a new experiment!

  3. You make a good point, Katherine. Leaving the leaves, and how doing it creates the perfect medium for seedlings to grow is a very good incentive.
    -and of course, I know I am helping pollinators thrive a little more.
    Sigh- I am slowly getting used to not having a perfectly groomed garden at Fall’s end.

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