Mixed News From the Spring Garden

It was an odd year, last year, with a withering summer drought that tested many things. We’ve been lucky to have a “slow spring” this year, with no post-warmth hard freeze to harm the waking plants.

It got down to 32 last night and frosted, but 32 is not a “hard freeze,” and frost alone won’t damage much.

Most things are coming awake in the garden. The first round of flowers are over, and we’re heavily into tulips now. Peonies are coming on, and the frilly early ones will bloom soon.

The big lilacs are at their peak, perfuming the air and nicely masking the odor of the pear trees. Crab apple, too, are actively in bloom.

Which brings me to mixed news. First, good news—the Sargent Crab Apple finally has a few blossoms on it this year. From the look of this small sample, it will be a pretty white crab apple, which will be nice.

The Moscow Lilac is getting tall, but did not bloom again this spring. Saddest of all, some young trees have not come back. An oak and several maples did not make it through this rather mild winter, and one thinks it must mostly be the drought that did them in.

The sweet gum is coming back, as is the Catalpa, so I’m not really hurting for trees. But the hawthorn in front, while not dead, is having a hard time of it—sprouting new growth from low on its trunk while all its upper branches are barren.

Saddest of all is the butterfly bushes. I had two nice ones in front, and I love butterfly bushes because they live up to their name, attracting nice late summer visitors. It seems neither is coming back this spring, which is too bad.

I’ll have to replace them, if they continue dead (it’s too early to know for sure) with butterfly bushes. I can’t do without them!

Anyway, the weather is fine now, with some genuine heat coming this week. Maybe we continue to have rains, as we sure do not want to test more of the young trees with another dry summer!

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