March 22, 2011

Two steps forward, one step back

Spring definitely hit early here. It’s rare for us to have a week-long stretch of mild weather in mid-March. A day or two maybe, but seven days of 45- to 60-degree temps had me fooled. The problem is, this week’s forecast calls for highs in the 30s, with rain, snow, and a wintry mix—not unusual March Wisconsin weather.

I won’t be in the garden much this week. But before the disgusting weather hit, I did manage to snap a few shots of perennials that will surely make great progress with the next warm spell.

I knew the Hellebores had started to emerge because I had uncovered them a few days earlier. I decided to pull away the leaves and get a better look. In my haste, I broke off one of the buds which made me very sad and very mad at myself. The good news is, it looks like I might have some babies starting.

The Daylilies are making an appearance. I have several varieties planted in my garden, so I admit I’m not sure which one is pictured here.

I was thrilled to see that the Hollyhocks (biennials) re-seeded. Last year, the rabbits did a number on the double pink beauties, so I reinforced their caging and I’m hoping for better luck this year.

The Salvia looks pretty wimpy, but it’s definitely starting new growth. I remembered its unique herbal scent as I rummaged around hunting for it.

In one section of the garden, several Eurasian bulbs were planted by the previous owners. I never know which ones will reappear from year to year, but it looks like the Crocuses and Daffodils are back. Also these strange yellow shoots, which I’m thinking might be Hyacinths that simply needed some sunlight.

I was so bummed about the broken Hellebore buds! So I decided to try to revive them in a small vase. They probably won’t bloom, but they sit by my kitchen sink reminding me of all the bounty now just around the corner.


  1. I too get saddened when I accidentally step in shoots. Same as your buds. Just my clumsiness.

  2. Donna: I actually lifted them off when I was removing the leaves. So mad at myself! They're such special plants!

  3. Ah, the signs of spring. So exciting! I hope your hellebores bloom inside, though I don't know much about them so I can't give any advice. But it has to be reassuring to see them emerging.

  4. You have so much to look forward to, think about that! My hellebores are all finished now, until next year. We have had lots of rain, wind, and hail, so I haven't been in the garden much. I miss warmth and sunshine!

  5. I'm shocked by the recent spate of good weather here too. Like you, a few good days is wonderful but we've had a week. Unheard of! But I'm enjoying every minute of it. Spring has sprung!

  6. @Holley: Unfortunately, I think the clipped ones are on their way out. And the ones in the garden look like popsicles right now with icy cold setting them back. I'm hoping they'll perk up with the next warm spell.

    @Masha: Thanks for your positive perspective! If the Hellebores thaw out OK, I'll be thrilled in about two weeks. Lots of other beauties should be blooming, too. :)

    @Marguerite: I'm glad you have some mild weather, too. This late freeze is tough to take, but it looks like things should thaw out again in about a week.

  7. Aah Beth,
    We're all in the same proverbial boat. A crazy spring this year.
    Left you a message on Blotanical, btw.
    aka Bay Area Tendrils

  8. Alice: Thanks for the note. Darn, I figured you always had great weather! Sorry your trip to the desert was derailed. I hope we all move full-swing back into spring in a few days!

  9. We have taken several steps backward this week ... but spring is here! All looks good :)

  10. Hi're so lucky that you can grow bulbs! It's too hot here in South Texas for them to survive. I can't wait to see yours as spring unfolds!

  11. So discouraging to accidentally knock off the hellebore blooms! I have tiny iris reticulatas blooming and didn't I break off some when I messed around to remove leaves and mulch from their tiny necks. Fortunately they were in full bloom and I could plop the tiny beheaded blossoms in one ounce shot glasses of water to enjoy inside. We're so anxious for spring aren't we!

  12. @Joey: Good to hear spring is established for you. I guess that's the nature of March--a changeable month!

    @Diane: I didn't realize you can't grow bulbs! I guess there are benefits to our northern climate. :) Still, I'd love to have your long growing season!

    @Laurrie: I'm picturing the mini-Irises in shot glasses -- must be lovely! It's great to have fresh, cut flowers in the house again.

  13. 2,3 buds broken, there are plenty more to come Beth...its only the beginning. Cant wait to see those lovely blooms in your garden!

  14. I know just how you felt about those broken blooms...especially Hellebores! I hope they'll bloom for you indoors, though, and that the plant will get some more buds before it's all said and done.
    Well, you know we just got snow--so we have taken several steps backward too, after weather being in the high 70's for a while! Soon, it'll be 'real' spring--at least I'm hoping that's the case--for us ALL:-)

  15. @P3: Thanks for the words of encouragement. I really need it this week, with high temps back in the 30s and not much plant progress, although I did notice the mini-Daffodils are poking through. :)

    @Jan: The broken buds are still in the bud vase, not making much progress but reminding me of what's to come. I'm glad you only got a dusting of snow.

  16. I love that you salvaged the broken Hellebore buds. I hope they open for you. I hate when I do things like that too. One of my prize double Hellebores got frozen back when I lifted the mulch away too soon this year. I hope it doesn't kill it?
    Glad you have some signs of spring. I am not fond of turkey vultures either but you're right ~ they serve an important purpose.

  17. @Kathleen: Believe it or not, the Hellebore bud is opening! I don't know how my outdoor ones will fare. We'll see in a few days. I'll look forward to updates about yours, too.