Sunday, April 26, 2015

Garden Hunger in the Spring of 2015: I Remember April

            The photo for April on our calendar this year -- we produce a calendar every year from our garden photos taken the previous year -- shows the weeping cherry tree behind the house in full bloom, wearing its delicate, but fulsome white wig (top photo). It's a fashion the tree can maintain for about a week, maybe a few days more if the weather stays cool; but still one of the annual highlights of spring.
            With six days left in April this year, we have started to see the white dots on the cherry tree that show the blossoms are on their way.Will it still be April when it blooms?
            Some other comparison points. A fat spring litter of grape hyacinth appears under the maple tree in front of the house in photos from mid-April 2014. This year the grape hyacinth has produced the green leaf-spears (they look like long floppy chives), but the flowers are still tight little buds. I don't blame them; a lot days this month not breaking sixty.
            This week we got a fairly good return on the daffodil bulbs (bottom photo down) Sonya and I planted last fall (we may have lost a few to the squirrels). Some of the bright, showy hyacinths we planted in the front yard struggled to get out of the overhanging lea of the boxwood hedge, which suffered a downward spread from piling the shoveled snow on top of them last winter (second and third photos). We're going to need a new winter measurement: condensed snow weight per square foot.
            Little blue stars flowers are spreading on their own in a shady spot where the other perennial groundcovers always take longer to get going in the spring.
            And some of our vinca, the most successful (or greediest) of our spring flowering groundcovers are putting out their blue five-petaled flowers in various place both in front and behind the house. (fifth  photo)

            The birds, however, think it's still March. They're still rooting around the feeder, spreading the seed, or rather the black shells of the sunflowers we feed them, all over the ground in our raspberry batch. Are the berry plants all right with that? We'll find out soon.
            What I can't get a handle on yet this year because spring is so late is which plants are not coming back at all this year. And which colonies have died back from their previous spread. Perhaps others will rush in to claim the available space.
            By May 2 of last year (a date that will come around on Saturday, this year), my photos show a pretty strong spring bloom. The Japanese primrose, for instance, a low, small plant with a very striking flower already peaking: pink and violet petals around yellow centers. (fourth photo)
            I'm already working on a state of anticipation that I might as well call 'I remember May.'