Category: Seasons

2016 Spring Blooms – an update

It’s time for an update on the status of the 2016 spring blooms. In a late December 2015 post I wondered whether the early swelling of buds on many spring-flowering shrubs might be damaged by a sudden onset of more normal winter cold.

The blooms on my star magnolia (Magnolia stellata) a few days ago suggest I need not have been concerned, at least over how December’s warmth might affect this small tree.

Magnolia stellata on 3/30/16

Magnolia stellata on 3/30/16

The jury is still out on the white lilacs. It’s not unusual for such temperature swings to damage flower buds to the point of not blooming. But winter’s warm-to-cold-to-warm temperature swings apparently did not damage flower formation … buds have formed and are in early stages of opening.

while lilac buds on 4/2/2016

while lilac buds on 4/2/2016

Now I wonder how the late freeze forecast for the next few days might damage emerging spring blooms. Lilacs are hardy, but nighttime temperatures in the teens – forecast for this coming Tuesday – are cause for concern.

Stay tuned.

 

 

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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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