So far spring is throwing us for a loop. Early April started out great. Because of slightly above average temperatures my garden came back to life with startling speed. Mid-April the temperatures nose-dived, and a 28-degree night turned a few hostas to snot. The rest of the month remained cool. Nevertheless, my garden continued to grow, and it was good to see color returning all over. Now, on May 8, we are expecting frost for the next two nights as an artic blast pushes into our area. While we may not see snow (whew, what a relief!) I will be protecting some of the plants so they won’t turn to snot again. A sheet thrown over plants will provide protection, even if it looks weird. Some marigold plants put out in the garden two weeks ago will also need to be protected. (Yes, I know, I planted them outside before their time.) They are already nearly a foot tall and they will be covered by empty plant pots. Not a great look for the garden, but enough coverage to keep them alive.
Aside for frost protection for the next few days, I walk around my garden and marvel at a few plants which only show up in early spring before returning for their underground snooze the remainder of the year. Many, many years ago I bought my first Trillium at Lowe’s. It was a tiny little stick with a small root, but I potted it up and eventually planted it out in the garden. Every spring this woodland native would produce three leaves and one “flower”, which more correctly are considered sepals. The white flower would slowly fade to pink, before going dormant again. Eventually I had a small grouping of these plants in early spring, but it certainly took time before they multiplied. Then we moved and I found again some Trilliums in stores. At first, I planted them around the silver Maple tree and the next year I had three tiny plants. Then, the Maple declined so much in health we had it cut down and when the three plants reappeared in spring, I moved them to a better, shady spot. This year the Trilliums came back and I am hoping they will multiply and lighten up their shady corner of the garden.
The second oddity in the garden is my ‘Jack in the Pulpit’ or Arisaema. A friend in Connecticut had lots of them growing in her garden and while visiting she dug some up and passed them on to me. I put them all over my (New Jersey) garden, trying to see which location they liked best. Surprisingly, they liked every spot and they obligingly multiplied. Before we moved, I dug some of them up and planted them in my new garden. Each year after they have bloomed, seeds develop and I move the seeds to new spots in the garden, hoping they will like their new spots. So far, I have managed to quadruple the number of plants and with additional shady spots in my garden their environment is becoming more to their liking. Before long I should have them growing under shrubs in just about every corner of my garden and they will delight me with their odd flowers.
A young great heron, which was a bit of a nuisance late last year, decided to visit my pond early this spring and managed to catch a few fish. I wanted to reduce the number of koi in the pond this spring so this heron “kind of” obliged me by eating them. However, before it cleaned out most of the fish, I put up a barricade at its favorite fishing spot and it hasn’t been back since. Most of the fish which disappeared where good-size three and four-year olds; the older, bigger fish remained, and the small fish were also untouched. Going into my fourth gardening year in this new garden I now have to contend with a late frost and a hungry great heron who wants to make my pond its personal fishing ground. Who ever said gardening was easy?