Friday, March 17, 2017

March: Both Spring and Winter at the Same Time

Hello, everyone! It's Mid-March now, and spring seems tantalizingly near. This March has been a mix of early spring and winter returning. February was unusually warm, as was the first week of March. A number of early spring flowers bloomed ahead of schedule in my gardens:

These rock garden iris on the south side of my house were the earliest thing to bloom here, in the last week of February.

These daffodils against the east side of my house
are always the first daffs to bloom.

Winter aconites are popping out near a large tree in my back yard.

But in the last week or so, we had one day where the temperature reached the low 70s, followed by an intense hailstorm, with 1&1/2-inch hail stones. This was followed a few days later by high winds that blew several shingles off of our garage roof. The insurance adjuster was out here yesterday, and said the roofs of our house, garage, two sheds and gazebo were all damaged.


After a few more days of nice weather, snow arrived on Monday, followed by cold temps as low as 12°F, which cut short a few blooms outside:

The white stuff....

But the snow mostly melted by Friday (today). I even worked outside in today's sunny 60° temps.

Here's a project I wanted to get done, adding edging bricks to this bed in front of my garage. Grass keeps creeping in, and I'm hoping this will help.

Seed Starting

But mostly I've been working with starting flower seeds indoors (where the weather extremes don't make much difference), and taking care of the many tropical plants growing in my sunroom:

First I start the seeds on this shelf, on a heat mat.

Then the seedlings get a spot right in front of the south-facing sunny windows in my sunroom. The large pot at right, and the five square pots at left, are sweet peas in various stages of growing indoors.

My orange tree, which was attacked by some sort of fungal problem in January, seems recovered enough to flower with heavenly-scented tiny flowers, which I take to be a good sign. I've just been trying to keep it alive until I can put it outside in May, so this is encouraging.
Having a Winter Garden keeps me happy, even when snow, hail and high winds wreak havoc outside.

Warm weather followed by cold isn't just ruining a few of my own flowers: We're headed to Washington, D.C. in a couple of weeks, a trip which I scheduled for this time of year specifically in order to see the famed Cherry Blossom Festival trees. Alas, most of the cherry trees bloomed several weeks ahead of schedule, and now they have been ruined by the ice storm that hit the Northeast this past week. But some of the trees may still be blooming when we go though, just not the well-known Yoshino trees. I'm sure there will be other beautiful things to see in Washington's many gardens: Mount Vernon, Dumbarton Oaks, the Smithsonian Gardens, the US Botanic Garden and also in Colonial Williamsburg's many small gardens, which I am hoping to see.

I hope your own gardens are weathering the... weather, and that spring will henceforth come in more like a lamb than a lion, in all our gardens. Thanks for reading! -Beth


  1. I so admire the way that you keep your pecker up, when I would be tearing my hair and moaning. Sorry about the winter damage, your spring garden is magical, thank you for Iris on the first day of spring. My conservatory is warm enough for pottering, so the Dahlias are heading for planting. Looking forward to gardening until I can barely lift a trowel.

  2. Oh your sunroom is such a nice spot to start seedlings and overwinter your flowers. I've starting planting a few cold hardy annuals..just couldn't wait! Hope your winter damage is minor! Happy Spring!