Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Blessings and Curses of an Early Spring

Mid-February is too early for the beginnings of vigorous growth, but I am relishing the tease of spring.
Our first spring flower!
This little guy lasted through the winter, blooming on warm, sunny days.
Our unusually clement winter season has me both longing for and fearing an early spring. The sunshine took me outdoors yesterday to root around in the soil and do a little cleanup. The ground is still frozen, but new green and red growth is beginning to show everywhere. 
My Royal Wedding cutting is showing new red growth.
It is gratifying to see what has survived the winter. All my new cuttings made it through on their own roots; of course, the mild winter gave them an edge. I am happy to see that my little volunteer rose seedling is raring to grow, too.
A volunteer seedling, nestled among the grape hyacinth, survived another winter and appears to be set to thrive this coming season.
On the other hand, sometimes our biggest storms come in March and April, freezing the fresh growth and delaying the serious business of plant growth and reproduction. Nascent buds, both foliage and flower, are subject to destruction by late freezes after the seductive clemency of a balmy late winter.
Young Black Tartarian cherry branches stretch to the sky.
Lengthening branches reach toward the stratosphere laden with swollen buds, accentuating the brilliant sky with a sense of renewing life. I am stirred with both a joyful anticipation and a lurking dread that all will be for naught.
A Bradford Flowering Pear tree is eager to display its seasonal wealth with a lavish show.

Fortunately, roses are mighty resilient. Should a late freeze take their early growth, they will simply dust themselves off and redouble their efforts to produce their first brilliant flush. 
David Austin's Ambridge Rose in late June, 2011
Unfortunately, a nip-in-the-bud event will delay their early seasonal display, and shorten the season from the early end. Another autumn like we had in 2011, however, will extend the season. 

Ambridge Rose in early November, 2011

(You may click to enlarge the above photos.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012