Yesterday's high temperature was 77 (Fahrenheit). The previous day was 73. Last week, we hit 80.
As a result, leaves, buds and flowers have been bursting out all over, making for a lot of pretty pictures (see below).
Unfortunately, temperatures are supposed to take a nose dive later this week. We're expecting lows in the 20s (perhaps as low as 23) on Friday night and Saturday night.
Usually, I am what you'd call a Darwinian gardener - I let plans thrive or die with minimal intervention. (Well, I water them for a season to get them established, but I don't spray or coddle after that.) But in this case, I'm tempted to try throwing a sheet over the crabapple tree. It's loaded with buds and I'm worried that many of them will be killed in the cold snap.
For now, enjoy these signs of Spring!
|'Honey Bee Blue' Agastache (I believe A. rugosa). Purchased three from a local nursery last year, they all seem to be coming back nicely.|
|I'm pretty sure this is Agastache foeniculum 'Golden Jubilee' (anise hyssop), but the leaves should be emerging a chartreuse color. So perhaps the original plant has died and the seedlings have reverted to the species A. foeniculum? (Prairie Nursery does call the species a biennial.) I'll post an update later in the year as to the foliage color as these seedlings mature.|
|Shoots and flower buds on Ajuga genevensis (blue bugle, Geneva bugleweed)|
|Sedum telephium (I believe the 'Autumn Joy' cultivar)|
|And here's a bee (honeybee?) buzzing in the boxwood.|
|Clematis 'Crystal Fountain' -- got to do some judicious pruning here...|
|Look closely at the base of these stems and you could spot new growth emerging on Baptisia australis (blue false indigo). Although B. australis reportedly prefers well-drained soil and full sun, it seems to have done pretty well for a couple of years now in our heavy clay soil with a bit of shade from a neighboring crape myrtle tree. Note that the new growth can look a little bit like asparagus, but there is evidence that Baptisia is poisonous (for people) and should not be eaten! So to avoid a potentially dangerous misidentification, don't plant this anywhere near your asparagus patch!|
|Beautiful foliage and buds on the 'Sugar Tyme' crabapple. This is the one where I don't know whether I should try to provide some protection from the upcoming cold snap or stay true to my Darwinian ethos.|
|First cheerful blue flowers are appearing on 'Georgia Blue' speedwell (Veronica peduncularis)|
|Alchemilla mollis (lady's mantle)|
|Stachys byzantina 'Helene von Stein' (lamb's ear)|
|Philadelphus x virginalis 'Natchez' (mock orange) - Bought this from a sale section in autumn 2013 and got a great bloom last May. Then the plant just say there all last year, not growing an inch. I worried as to whether it had exhausted itself with the bloom and was on the road to ruin. Then late in the season, it sent up a sucker about six inches with fresh new leaves. Was that a good sign or did it mean all the old growth had died off? Well, so far, things look good. I'm seeing all the old growth (and the new sucker) leafing out. I'll remain optimistic on the mock orange.|
|I don't know much about mosses, but I think they're fantastic from both a visual and tactile standpoint, so I try to encourage them in the garden. I don't know how to identify this moss, but it seems to be entering its reproductive stage where sporophytes will release spores that will hopefully help the moss spread around the garden!|
|Symphyotrichum oblongifolium 'October Skies' emerging from under a winter blanket of leaves. I'm pleased to see that all three clumps of October Skies aromatic aster seem to have expanded nicely.|
|Viburnum 'Pragense' (Prague viburnum). I had five of them planted last year. This is the most impressive one of the bunch and I'm still not impressed.|
|Here are two of the less impressive Prague viburnums (Viburnum 'Pragense')|
|Myrica cerifera (southern waxmyrtle) not looking good. This is another marginally hardy plant in our zone. It's mainly native to sandy soils in the Coastal Plain of the Deep South. Perhaps I should have planted it in the spring to give it a chance to get established before it had to face near-zero winter temperatures and ice storms? I may have been doing a bit of excessive zone pushing with this one...(To add insult to injury, I walked by yesterday - after this photo was taken - and saw that deer had chomped off most of the branches. They didn't eat it, they just decapitated the plant, said 'Blech!' and moved on.)|