Fall is for Planting

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Most of the summer, I looked at this dead tree. It was a star magnolia. It went into last winter without a problem, but it didn’t form its buds, as magnolias do. Perhaps that should have been my first clue that there would be a problem this spring.

Sure enough, this spring, when all the other trees began to flush leaves or blooms, this magnolia did nothing. The Spoiler, ever the optomist, kept saying, let’s just see what happens. By mid-July, it was obvious even to him nothing was going to happem

So we finally cut it down. It is in morning sun, so that gives me some nice options.

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I left the self-sown goldenrod on one end of the bed.

In the rest of the bed, I put my “test” plants that had been accumulating all summer. There are 6 veronica (3 blue and 3 white), 2 pink perennial pelargoniums, and 2 smaller hydrangeas.

I also put a dwarf joe pye weed in, and I left some self-sown asters as well. I need some pollinator plants, after all (although the bees loved the veronica all summer, even in pots!)

Generally planting in fall is much better for plants because the soil is still warm. For those of you who live near any type of water, you know how long the water takes to warm in the spring–soil is similar.

Likewise, in the fall, water stays warmer longer than the air–that’s why maritime communities get frost a little later. Again, soil cools more slowly than the air so planting into the fall actually aids the plants by settling them into warm soil.

I will want to watch these–& perhaps mulch them once the ground freezes–so that they don’t “heave up” out of the soil. But otherwise, no other special care is needed.

I still have some bulbs to add here, but nature hasn’t been my friend on the timing–as usual, the rain on the weekend isn’t conducive to bulb planting.

What a Difference A Little Warmth Makes!

April in Connecticut was nasty! It was the 5th or 6th coldest April on record (and our records go back into the late 1800s, so that’s a good bit of weather to compare with!)

We got almost 2″ of rain above average–you won’t ever hear me complaining too much about rain, but when it’s so cold, extra rain is extra ugly.

And we had over 6″ of snow above average. That I will complain about!

But so far the beginning of May is making up for it–or as I always say, we only have two seasons here in this state, winter and July.  We haven’t had much temperate weather–it’s either been below average (or much below) or much above. I presume that’s how averages are made.

Still, when I got back from Oklahoma, I found all this in bloom!

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Azaleas were everywhere ( as were forsythia, but I don’t have those)

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Magnolias similarly were everywhere. I have a star magnolia, but I am a bit concerned that it somehow died over the winter. I see no signs of life–either blossoms or leaves. This is a 30 year old tree. I hate when that happens!

My yellow magnolia is doing fine and will be in bloom shortly.

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Bulbs are popping up in places where I planted them–and where I didn’t. More about that in another post.

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My weeping cherry–which is always later than the magnolia–is spectacular.

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And this funny plant–petasites japonica–is doing quite well because of all the moisture. It will do well as long as it’s moist. If it becomes hot and dry, it will get ratty and I cut it back.

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So I was very pleased to see spring at last on my return.

 

 

Holiday Plants

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Not quite what you were thinking of for Easter or Passover plants, was it?

I rarely have amaryllis for Christmas.   There’s just too much else going on: all the lights and decorations and the tree and glittery wrapping–there’s no real ability to appreciate these lovely bulbs.

And believe it or not, I started 3 of the 4 of them at different times. Somehow they just all decided to bloom at once.  What a bonanza . My Easter Lily is wasted.

Here are some closer photos.

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This is Red Peacock. It’s a double,  with an intermittent white stripe.

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This is Sweet Nymph,  which is a coral pink.

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This one is occasionally available in box stores.  It’s a semi-double called Dancing Queen.

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And finally my hellebores are opening. This is actually the Christmas rose, I think.  The Lenten rose is still barely showing a bud. Things move slowly here in the frozen north!

Wordless Wednesday

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This is one of four amaryllis bulbs that I have coming along now. This particular one, called ‘Gervais’ has three stalks of flowers. You can’t beat these huge bulbs for indoor blooms (& yes, I know some folks can grow them in gardens. I can’t).

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I did find these at my grocery store, however,  and once they have finished blooming I will be able to plant them in my garden. In the meantime,  I will enjoy them inside.

It’s Meteorological Spring

March 1 begins meteorological spring. That being said, it sure doesn’t look like that around my house.

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This is the one bright spot. It’s my witch hazel, ‘Jelena.’

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Its bright blooms can literally be seen from all over the yard. They can even be seen from the second story of my house!

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But everything else, not so much. Here are my snowdrops–or not.

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The chives on my porch are doing well–but they are in a glassed in environment.

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And while these hellebores are called Lenten roses, we’re already well into the second week of Lent. They have some catching up to do, I think.

A few more freakishly warm 70 degree days are needed before my landscape catches up to where it’s supposed to be–but that’s okay. I’ll settle for what I have for now.