Category: Bulbs

Lilacs, dogwood, and other May blossoms

May fills Connecticut gardens with all sorts of flowers and scents. Early morning is a wonderful time to wander through the gardens, camera in hand, to observe May blossoms.

White lilac flower buds survived the freezing temperatures that hit after they formed. Now they strut their stuff, spreading a delicate fragrance nearby. Yesterday it attracted a swallowtail butterfly and a hummingbird.

White lilac, May 11, 2016

White lilac, May 11, 2016

This low bush blueberry – or is it a huckleberry, it’s hard for even seasoned botanists to say – was here when we cleared our property nearly 20 years ago. We worked around this native shrub and it has become a feature of the front yard gardens. Pollinating flies spend most of their days visiting its May blossoms.

Blueberry or huckleberry blossoms with pollinating fly, May 11, 2016

Blueberry or huckleberry blossoms with pollinating fly, May 11, 2016

The pink dogwood (Cornus florida ‘Rubra’) is in full bloom … striking against a clear blue sky.

Cornus florida 'Rubra' aka pink dogwood against a clear blue sky, May 11, 2016.

Cornus florida ‘Rubra’ aka pink dogwood against a clear blue sky, May 11, 2016.

Scillia/Spanish Bluebells, aka Hyancinthoides hyspanica ‘Dainty Maid’ just opened, adding more colorful May blossoms to the ground level. They pick up where waning daffodils leave off.

Scillia/Spanish bluebells, Hyacinthoides hispanica 'Dainty Maid', May 11, 2016

Scillia/Spanish bluebells, Hyacinthoides hispanica ‘Dainty Maid’, May 11, 2016

One of a pair of blue containers filled with the SunSparkler sedum ‘Lime Zinger’.

SunSparkler sedum 'Lime Zinger'

SunSparkler sedum ‘Lime Zinger’

I had this sedum in one large container last summer. Rather than lose it, I planted it in the ground last fall. When it emerged and temperatures warmed enough to safely place containers back outside, I dug and divided the sedum to fill the two pots … definitely worth the effort to have the pots looking full this early at no additional cost to the budget.

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Protect blooming bulbs from heavy snow.

It’s disheartening when weather turns wintry after spring bulbs have started to bloom. But there’s no need to lose these blossoms under heavy wet snow when just a few easy steps will protect blooming bulbs.

Narcissus 'Tete-a-Tete' blooming in late winter in zone 6 Connecticut.

Narcissus ‘Tete-a-Tete’ blooming in late winter in zone 6 Connecticut.

Crocus tommasinianus 'Ruby Giant' blooming in late-winter in zone 6 Connecticut.

Crocus tommasinianus ‘Ruby Giant’ blooming in late-winter in zone 6 Connecticut.

Heavy wet snow would weigh down blooming stalks and destroy the petals of early-bloomers like these narcissi and crocus.

It’s just depressing to look out at once-beautiful flowers that have been beaten down by late snow.

Avoid this by spending a few minutes of your pre-snow time to place an overturned apple basket, or large plastic pot, over each set of blooms.

An overturned basket protects blooming bulbs from heavy snow.

An overturned basket protects blooming bulbs from heavy snow.

Once the basket is in position, sink two or three short posts or rods through openings in the basket and into the ground. This secures the cover from blowing winds.

A good sized flat rock will also work to keep the basket, or plastic pot, from blowing over. This trick also works to prolong blooming bulbs from heavy rains.

Once the storm passes remove your cover of choice and go on enjoying your blooms.

You can pick narcissi with buds close to opening to enjoy indoors during the storm, but if you don’t pick them they should be fine. After the storm passes you can pick any broken bud stems to enjoy indoors.

Don’t fret over newly emerging foliage of hardy perennials such as iris and daylilies. The tips of their foliage may brown during late freezes, but the plants will do fine under a blanket of snow.

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