What a difference a month makes! Although it has not been very warm, or wet, the temperatures inched up and my plants noticed the difference. One day my magnolia opened its buds just a little and I rejoiced; expecting at least a week of glorious blooms. I was going to invite my friend to come over, just to see the spectacle, which is fleeting at best. The 98 blooms from last year would easily be surpassed as my – still young – tree was filled with buds. So, the buds cracked open on a nice sunny day and then DISASTER struck! The following morning, I noticed frost on the grass, but I still did not expect the worst. Only hours later when I made my way to the back garden, did I notice that each slightly opened bud was absolutely blasted by the frost and the buds had already turned brown. A handful of buds had not opened, and I hoped for at least a few blooms. Then we got another freeze warning and this time I was prepared – or so I thought. I took paper sandwich bags and put them – gingerly – over each opening bud and secured it with pieces of twine. The next day was windy and I left the bags on but removed all five of them the next morning. Did it work? Not really. Some opening flowers looked the worse for wear, but two buds are opening now into perfect flowers. After hoping for a tree festooned with yellow blooms, I must contend myself with two measly flowers. Since (most) gardeners are optimist – myself included - I will just hope for better next year. Oh, and I plan to keep a closer watch on opening buds on the magnolia and the weather forecast. I do have a frost blanket that might come in handy just in case temperatures dip when my magnolia wants to bloom.
Evaluating some parts of the garden, I move some plants around. The backside of the pond is home to three Viburnum nudum ‘Winterthur’ and below their branches both Hellebores and Pulmonaria (Lungwort) have settled in. This spring I moved a handful of Hellebores from the back of the waterfall to this section. The Pulmonaria is busy reseeding itself in nooks and crannies around these plants and within a year or two at most I should have a spring spectacular rivaling displays at public gardens.
Meanwhile, wildlife around the pond has resurfaced. A variety of frogs and toads are claiming homes around the pond or in the garden while a big frog has reclaimed the exit of the pipe running from the downpipe to the side of the garden as its home. One rainy night it traveled through the garden, falling into the window well, where it patiently waited to be rescued. Rather than hopping around frantically in the window well trying to escape that scary human being who promised freedom, it quietly tucked its head between its front legs and allowed itself to be lifted out. Kind of, if I can’t see you, you can’t see me. I transported it back outside and put it on the edge of the pond. It sat there for a minute or so, before jumping back in the pond and safety. Whew, saved again.
Last night we finally had some rain. Only 0.4 inches, but every little bit helps. This week the temperatures will soar into the 70s and maybe even low 80s, so my hydrated garden will push out greenery and flowers in record time. We also managed to spread 6 cubic yard of triple shredded hardwood mulch in three days and now I can wait and see what will bloom next. Will it be the bell like flowers of the Halesia Carolina (Carolina silver bell) or the fragrant lace like flowers from the Chionanthus Virginicus (American fringe tree). Whatever the case, it will be glorious, and that is only for starters!