May 11, 2021

June Weather in April; April Weather in May

trilliums
The Trilliums are OK: l. to r., T. erectum, T. grandiflorum, T. recurvatum.

I realize that no season, month, week, or day is really "normal." But we've had a truly unusual spring this year. Yes, most Midwest springs feature unpredictable weather--popping back and forth between cold and warm; and snowy, rainy, and mild. But I don't recall a spring with truly summer weather for several days in April, a drought mid-spring, and then an extended period of cool weather into the middle of May. Most years, we have many spring days in the 60F-70F (15C-21C) range, while this year, most days have had high temps on either side of that, with a couple of days in April approaching 90F (32C).

The outcome? Many plants had an early start, and then simply paused for weeks on end. It's been a beautiful season for spring-flowering bulbs and Trilliums, because they're lasting longer. But it's changed the flow of the garden and the comfort level of the gardener.

I've seen very few migrating birds in my garden, and no orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks, indigo buntings, or scarlet tanagers. I don't know if I missed them or if more might pass through the area with the warmer weather ahead.

ostrich ferns

The Ostrich Ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris) were up and uncoiled before I had a chance to harvest some for sautéing.

redbud

Meanwhile, the Redbud (Cercis canadensis) blooms are lasting longer than they usually do with "refrigeration."

shagbark hickory

I'm wondering if the early leaf-out of the Shagbark Hickories (Carya ovata) is hiding the bird feeders and oranges I put out for the migrating birds.

lily of the valley

The Lily of the Valley flowers (Convallaria majalis) seem unfazed. (I need to remember pick some for a few vases.)

mayapple patch

The Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) patch emerged early, and seemed to have an extended budding period.

mayapple

Now, the Mayapples are blooming. :)

bugbane

The Bugbane (Actaea racemosa) plants are farther along than I would expect. They generally don't bloom until midsummer, so it will be interesting to see how they progress this year.

crabapple

The Crabapples (Malus spp.) had a short bloom time (drought, then heavy rain). I wonder how this will affect the local orchards.

lilacs

And now we're entering the Lilac-blooming (Syringa spp.) period, one of the best times to visit Southern Wisconsin, in my opinion. The weather looks to warm and normalize a bit in the days ahead. Time to plant the annuals, edibles, and a few perennials!

18 comments:

  1. Beth, spring has been odd in NC too. It feels more to me like the way spring used to be when I was little, although I wasn't in tune then with bloom times of as many things as now. Your flowers are looking beautiful and I hope they all continue to do well.

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    1. Interesting, Susie. It doesn't feel anything like the springs of my childhood. I wasn't as in tune then with the plants, either, but I think I've always been aware of the weather. I didn't grow up here in S. Wisconsin (started in Indiana, lived near Green Bay ages 9-18). But this spring isn't like any I've experienced. Very weird.

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  2. As long as the blooms appear eventually, all is well in the garden - and hopefully the bird migrations will go smoothly as well, whatever their timetable. It's been odd here too. The biggest issue is the severity of our drought but we've also had a roller-coaster ride with respect to temperatures. After 2 significant hot-spells in April (I only use the term "heatwave" when we hit 100+ and we didn't quite get there), it's cooler again but my "cool season" flowers grown from seed are a bit of a bust this year.

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    1. Yes, the annuals, of course, will be fine, as well as the summer perennials. Spring is a touch-and-go proposition in any year, but it seems particularly off, here, this year. Oh well...on to the next stage. :)

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  3. Lovely photographs, Beth! Here the drought has continued unabated. I suppose the cold weather has blunted the impact, but I am gnashing my teeth over the lack of rain. Most established plants aren't showing stress as yet, but I have been doing some watering here and there, mostly for newer plants and my coddled Clematis.

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    1. Thank you, Jason. Sorry to hear the drought has continued for you. We had a couple of heavy rains in early May, so I haven't watered much lately. I hope we'll have plenty of rain once the heat begins.

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  4. Our weather here in southern middle Tennessee has also been weird. I think the swings are due to the planet wobbling on its axis. Personally, I would prefer more predictability and less surprises; however, I must do as my garden is doing and learn to adapt. I am not good at change, give me a rut any day.
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

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    1. I think you're right, Jeannie. Trying to think ahead to the pleasant weather of the next few weeks. :)

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  5. Lovely May flowers Beth. I adore the trilliums. What an amazing patch of podophyllum. You always take the most amazing photos, what sort of camera do you have?

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    1. Thank you, Chloris. The Trilliums, Mayapples, and other spring ephemerals were here when we moved in more than 20 years ago. They are a joy to witness every year. Thank you! I use a few different cameras, including my Cannon PowerShot SX60 and my Iphone SE (now 2nd generation).

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  6. Mother Nature is having hot and cold flashes. Your pictures are wonderful as always. I love to visit your garden.

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    1. Yes, Mother Nature has been a bit mixed up the past couple of months. Thank you, Becky. This time of year is special in the garden, even with things off schedule.

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  7. Hi,
    I do know what you mean, May 1st we reached 90 degrees! Later in the week we had a low of 25!!! My birdbath water had a good layer of ice on it.
    Enjoy the lilacs, they are a true gift.
    Carla

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    1. Oh good heavens! Those extremes are just crazy! Yes, the Lilacs are very special. :)

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  8. and here it is cold and I sit by the fire. Expecting good rain on Thursday.
    I do love trilliums!

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    1. I have a feeling your "cold" isn't too terrible (at least those of us in colder climates probably would find it relatively comfortable). Sitting by the fire sounds pleasant, though. :)

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  9. How long does Lilac season last in WI? The scent must be lovely.

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    1. Oh, gosh. I'm still seeing some dwarf varieties blooming around town, although mine (two varieties) are done. Yes, the scents this time of year are incredible!

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