December warmth, confused plants

Yesterday I wandered around outside to see how plantings are reacting to the December warmth blanketing Connecticut. December has been unusually warm; yesterday’s daytime temperature reached the low 60’s, today’s is forecast to possibly reach 70 degrees F. The soil remains workable, plants are confused.

lilac buds swelling in Connecticut's December 2015 warmth

lilac buds swelling in Connecticut’s December 2015 warmth

Though no spring-blooming bulbs are peeking out of the ground, lilac buds are greening and swelling as if preparing to open.

Leaf tips on the young serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis ‘Rainbow Pillar’) tree show hints of opening.

leatherleaf viburnum, December 2015

leatherleaf viburnum, December 2015

 

Leatherleaf viburnum (Viburnum rhytidophyllum) leaves are still fresh and full, holding a spring-green hue rather than the darker green they take on during winter’s cold.

swelling buds of star magnolia, December 2015

swelling buds of star magnolia, December 2015

swelled bud of star magnolia, December 2015

swelled bud of star magnolia, December 2015

 

Buds of the star magnolia (Magnolia stellata) have likewise swelled, looking more like they should in early spring than early winter.

And this December warmth has enticed area cherry trees into bloom. It’s very strange to see a pink cherry tree in December in Connecticut.

 

 

 

Perennials are also confused …

fresh daylily growth, December 2015

fresh daylily growth, December 2015

Fresh daylily leaves are peeking through the leftover, browned foliage of this year’s growth.

 

early winter, 2015, scabiosa bloom

early winter, 2015, scabiosa bloom

 

 

 

 

 

And, this type-a personality scabiosa is still forcing out fresh blooms.

How will all this December warmth affect future blooms? The clocks of the perennials will reset once real winter weather blows in, but bud and leaf tip swelling of spring-blooming shrubs and small trees is disturbing.

Will the small flowers hiding inside these buds become damaged by this false start once cold temperatures hit? Many early spring-blooming shrubs form next season’s flowers before going into dormancy. Flower buds can be damaged when rapid temperature drops follow early warm weather that entices early-blooming shrubs to break dormancy.

The December warmth of the last few days is forecast to turn to more normal temperatures early next week. I’m hoping for a gradual cool-down, and cold that lasts until March. This gives perennials, shrubs, and trees the chance to rest before the spring awakening. But, if early spring flowers are sparse in 2016, I will think back to this December warmth and my confused plants.

 

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Change is in the air …

Last rose hurrah in the October garden.

Roses before the change to a colder October.

It’s been a long time since I posted here. I’m not completely sure why. I love writing and gardening but something, or a combination of factors, has blocked my desire to combine these two loves. I’m still deciphering all the causes of my writer’s block, but I think I’ve identified some factors contributing to my recent lack of desire to post here, and what must change.

Coleus soaks up October sunshine before the first frost.

Coleus soaks up October sunshine before the first frost.

One contributing factor is my frustration that people continue to fall prey to ad campaigns – sprinkle x to keep weeds at bay, apply y in four steps for a “healthy” lawn, spray z to stop bugs. This is so contrary to what I’ve learned during my journey from a novice to a seasoned gardener with NOFA certification as an Organic Land Care Professional. Too often it seems that advice on gardening organically, cutting pesticide/herbicide use, and sustainable gardening practices falls on deaf ears.

Another contributing factor is a sense that everything that needed to be said about gardening was being said by others. What was/is this blog really offering?

I third factor is a feeling that having advertising on this blog is disingenuous. When you participate in ad programs you cannot control every running ad, resulting in some ads that just don’t sit right with my gardening or living practices.

Native, self-sown asters glow in autumn's light.

Native, self-sown asters glow in autumn’s light.

So expect to see change here; some subtle, some not so. It’s time to re-energize my love of writing about gardening, and make this blog feel right to me again.

Seed heads of autumn-blooming sedum.

Seed heads of autumn-blooming sedum.

Change may not fix all the factors that contributed to my lack of blogging, but that’s okay.

If you like the change you see I invite you to subscribe, via the subscribe box in the sidebar, so new posts will go to your inbox.

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