Gardening: Done with winter; come on spring

Witchhazel flowers just starting to show color a little early.
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Witchhazel flowers just starting to show color a little early.

Well shucks, ending 2021 and starting off 2022 didn’t go exactly as planned. Instead of drinking champagne I was sipping on cough medicine whilst feeling awful due to Covid 19. Yuck.

The worst part was being stuck inside the house the entire time. If you know me, you know that this was brutal.

I am on the road to recovery and fortunately, it was nice enough this past Tuesday for me to head outside and inspect my landscape to see what was happening. I didn’t expect much.

I have seen several social media posts from people in the Midwest with hellebores starting to bloom. I needed to check mine out to see where they were. I should have known that they were still tucked in, snug and warm, still slumbering away.

I have observed after several years of living on this property, that my garden is slightly behind almost everyone else in the Midwest who are posting on social media. I say almost everyone else because I am sure there are others like me that are envious of our friends whose flowers come out first.

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I attribute this to the fact that many of my friends must live in urban areas while I live out in the cold wilderness. The city is slightly warmer and more protected from the elements.

Since I live in the county, out in the open, with houses spread apart and very few trees, my environment is simply colder. The soil is colder as well as the air temperature.

I see all kinds of pictures of spring blooming crocus and snowdrops on Facebook and mine are just coming up. Patience Pam, patience.

None of my spring blooming bulbs are even showing foliage and I have heard many of you say that yours grew quite a bit during the recent warm temperatures. This is OK since they can’t be damaged by temperature changes if they aren’t above ground!

My hellebores, as I mentioned, are barely showing new foliage. The new flower buds are still protected by old foliage.

I was a bit surprised, but I shouldn’t have been, by a few of my witchhazels showing a bit of flower color. The one closest to the house had at least 10 percent of the flower buds open and 40% of them slightly open.

These are slightly ahead of last year’s blooms. They typically open in late January and bloom most of February.

Each year, in the winter and the early spring, gardeners tend to panic a bit about cold damage and frost or freeze damage to plants. I don’t get too excited about this as I look at it as a learning opportunity.

What happens, happens. Mother Nature is in charge, not me!

However, Mother Nature, I have reached the end of being stuck inside and would appreciate spring arriving early this year if you could make that happen!

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