Another weekend, another storm. SO ready for spring!!!

bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)February 23, 2013

OK that's it! I've had it! All my life in New England I should be used to winter. Being older now I seem to enjoy complaining more and more..............but there's hope!

Actually, to my surprise, I noticed yesterday that some tulips are about an inch high! These are just cheap-o box store tulips I bought for some early color three years ago during the construction in a bed that I hadn't decided on yet as to what I wanted there, so I figured they would be throwaways. I didn't even expect them to come back, but this will be the third spring for them and they look strong and healthy. Last year the were perfect. On the other hand, the fairly expensive Red Riding Hood tulips I planted at the same time, in a permanent bed, barely came back the second year. Most were no-shows or deformed with what looked like a viral infection of some kind. I doubt that any at all will reappear this year.

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In our area the storm was downgraded to ~3 inches. But you would have never known by the lines in the grocery store. I did have to stop in since we have been out of milk for 3 days now.

But I did bake my own naan bread today.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 9:59PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

The storm was a non event here too. Nice for a change. We did our usual grocery shopping yesterday too. What is a 'naan' bread?

Bill, you have been lucky with those tulips. I had two tulips survive and come back every year for the past 15 years, but I can't remember the name of them to buy them again. If I had the time, I guess I could dig them up and try to increase them. Pretty hard to identify any particular variety of tulip from a photo. I stopped adding them years ago, because they only lasted one season for me. How did you see the tulip foliage with all the snow on the ground?

I have not even finished pruning shrubs. I wanted to do it in January, but thought what if we had an early warm spell and some of them started growing too early. So I left it for February and haven't managed to do it yet.

I wonder if March will be more spring like, or more snow?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 3:16AM
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Still more than a foot of snow covering my lawn at the moment so if anything is up, it currently isn't visible. I'm glad this snow storm was a non-event--finally managed to get the mail out of my mailbox yesterday using a small leaf rake since the box itself is out of reach. Warmer temps should see the amount of snow on the ground diminishing the next few days so I may see some signs of spring by the end of the week. Hope to fill the seed & suet feeders as well.

My neighbor and I have enjoyed seeing the eastern bluebirds who've spent the winter here feeding on suet we've set out on the ground for them. Thanks to her, I now know to put the crumbled suet in a flat pan at ground level for them, although they did land on the hanging suet feeders frequently trying to adapt to feeding like the woodpeckers.

I'm also noting an increased energy level now the hours of daylight are getting longer. The dark days really took a toll on me this year.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 8:05AM
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javaandjazz(z6 CT)

The snow was non-event at my house as well. I hope we are done with the snow. I still can't see most of the ground around me and I am nervous about boxwood graham blandy, it's buried under ice now and it's melting but the little I can are all broken.I planted a bunch of Home Depot tulips and hyacinths last fall and looking forward to seeing it they pop! However some good news, my witch hazel is popping now.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 8:35AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Just rain here so far, and that's almost over, but they're talking about some light snow tonight.

Right now I'm just hoping that the ice floe at the foot of the driveway will finally melt away. I keep chopping away at the edges but the stuff is thick and stubborn. I don't want to use any ice melting chemicals because of the plantings at the edge of the driveway. It makes backing in the driveway a little trickier than usual.

There's still patches of hard crusty "snow" scattered around the yard and not much signs of sprouts. At least the sun is coming up earlier and staying up longer, and the red-winged blackbirds are singing.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 9:21AM
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molie(z6 CT)

Like all of you, I'm getting pretty tired of this winter weather. Hope that March is kind to us. Claire is so on target about the wonderful change in the sun's track. I can judge the coming spring by the kind of afternoon light we're getting now and the fact that the sun stays up so much longer. It's a great sight! As for this "storm" ---just rain here along the coast. In fact, it rained all night. Our river out back is now a lake. I'm anxious to get out and check for any storm damage on our shrubs but will wait a bit for more snow to melt. I hate walking in tired, grey snow --- plus there are those "puppy poops" to look out for. We try to pick up after Brody every other day but sometimes his little bullets sink in the snow.

Bill, I don't know how you managed to spot those tulips, unless your snow cover is almost gone. I have no idea what's coming up in my yard. You are so lucky that they keep returning. Maybe you have something there --- buy the cheaper box store varieties rather than ordering from a catalogue. I love tulips but feel they are a waste of money. Sadly, we have only one left in the front. I should dig it up, but it's an early variety and its rosy glow is so cheerful in the spring.

Pixie, I also love naan bread ---- never thought to try making my own. Does yours have the same texture as the restaurant variety? @PM2, naan is a round and pita-like, though much puffier than regular pita bread. It's often used in Indian cuisine and is great for gathering up curries and stew-like foods.

Bluebirds all winter, Gardenweed! Lucky you! We never see them in our yard. I've often thought about putting up a bluebird box or two but worry that maybe they just don't like the tidal river basin area where we live. That's a great tip about placing the suet low on the ground for them.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 10:10AM
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javaandjazz(z6 CT)

I can tell the sun is changing also. I have a hibiscus tree in the basement that loses its leaves in the fall when I put it down there and now over the last weeks leaves have started to come out. I don't remember it doing that last year.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 10:53AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Well maybe my premature complaining made a difference, but I did see where the forecast has changed to a weather system with much less impact than they had originally predicted. I was thinking an ark would have come in handy the way they were predicting a few days ago! Anyway, most of the snow in my garden has gone, aside from a foot or so where the six-foot drifts were. I have found that tulips generally are best treated as annuals, but there is a purple parrot tulip that comes back every year.............a sole survivor that my mother planted back in the 1950's! It produces on flower every year.

I liked the Red Riding Hood because of the mottled foliage and the brilliant, wide open blooms. I don't know if the supplier ships bulbs that have some virus already in them or if it's just that they are susceptible to some soil-borne disease or what, but they only really performed the first spring after planting. The second year less than half even showed up again, and most of them were pathetic, deformed plants, mostly with no flower or something shriveled that might have been one.

Anyway, I'm glad that we dodged a bullet this time. Spring will be more than welcome this year.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 11:42AM
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spedigrees z4VT

It seems we've been spared by Mother nature here too.

Bill, I've had the same sort of luck with my daffodil bulbs as you with tulips. Many years ago I tried planting all sorts of exotic, multi-colored, frilled daffodils which withered away and disappeared after a few years. Half of them never bloomed once.

Then about 10 years ago I bought bags of the cheap bulbs at the grain store and planted them. Now each year it's a profusion of sunny yellow everywhere, like Varykyno in Dr Zhivago. There must be some sort of lesson in this!

Snow or not, it's way too early to see green shoots peeking out here in northern New England, but the air does seem to smell like living things again, and the sun is much stronger now. There is hope!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 12:29PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

I've had some pink greiggi tulips that not only return, but spread.

For bright reds, my best pereniallizers are Praestens Fusilier.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 12:36PM
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Many years ago I planted some appledorn tulips I got from probably Breck. They always came back until I dug them out of the bed (stupid me).

I'm not sure how much snow we have here in NH but it's still coming down and the poor wild turkeys don't like wading thru the snow. It's up to their chests almost. I'm so sorry we haven't been putting suet out for the blue birds. We saw a pair recently but didn't know they don't use suet feeders. I'm afraid the pesky squirrels would get it all.

We noticed the maple across the driveway seems to be budding up. We heard some NH sap houses have started but a friend said they usually put the taps out during Feb school vacation and the sap really hasn't started flowing yet. Nothing to see in our yard. Too much snow.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 1:23PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)


I've had some daffodils with foliage above ground since last autumn, and now many others are showing, along with a few crocuses. I have found daffodils generally to be very reliable perennials. As it happens, I bought most of them as big bags at a home improvement store. Probably bags of 25 for maybe $10 or similar so maybe cheaper is better in the case of daffodils.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 3:57PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Back when I bought my first peonies (Festiva Maxima) White Flower Farm had them on sale with a note saying something on the order of:

Just because a plant is cheap that doesn't mean it's inferior. What it often means is that the plant is very easy to grow so it doesn't cost the seller much to produce lots of them and they can sell them at a lower price when they're overstocked.

The rain has changed to snow now, but not very heavy.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 4:09PM
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It sounds like NH (& perhaps ME) got the brunt of the snow. I figure we got about 10" of wet heavy snow, difficult to shovel, but lovely to look at. It's still snowing lightly, but around midday today it was coming down at several inches per hour.

My friend who sugars as a large part of her farm's income has been boiling for a couple of weeks now; all the warm days and cold nights we've had over the last couple of weeks have been good for sap flowing, though the last few days have not. I think she said that as of a week ago they had already made 250 gallons. They usually set taps and check lines in late January since often the first couple of weeks of February has at least some days that are good for sap flow.

We were down to just a few inches of snow prior to this storm, but now have about a foot, so I'll be out in the woods tomorrow on skis. Today the shoveling was more than enough exercise.

I don't expect to see plants (even the early bulbs) looking like much for at least 3 weeks or so here since nights are all still well below freezing and only some days are above freezing. The longer days and stronger sun really helped melt the last round of snow, though, and spring officially is less than a month away, so I am enjoying the relative warmth and having it still light until about 6:00.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 4:28PM
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This was the view from the back door early this morning. As the day wore on, the snow on the branches reached 3 or 4 inches, but then as the snow continued, it started sliding off in huge feathery puffs that made it look a lot lighter than it felt on the shovel.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 4:42PM
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javaandjazz(z6 CT)

beautiful to look at!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 4:44PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Magnificent tree, nhbabs!

Another sign of spring here - the neighbors' young, trusting, dog got sprayed by a skunk near my porch. I haven't seen any skunk holes in the yard yet, though I haven't checked the likely locations.

Something dug a hole under my porch last fall. I suspected woodchuck, but maybe I have skunk(s) living there.....


    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:00PM
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rockman50(6b SEMASS)

Good news! The ground is bare of snow here on the south coast of MA (of course we still have some gnarly piles of dirty snow)....but the lawn is green! And....I was pleasantly surprised today to see some golfers playing at the New Bedford Country Club! So golf has arrived in southern-most New England and will spread north over the next 4-6 weeks.

Even though Nemo's snow is gone, the tree damage is extensive. Although there are lots of broken limbs here and there, what is most amazing is the shear number of uprooted trees. I **had** a very large cherry laurel....about 8 feet tall...full lush and of course evergreen. Nemo pulled the entire thing right out of the ground and then flattened it under 15 inches of heavy cement. I can't even budge it even though the snow is gone and the ground is soft and unfrozen. I guess I will cut it way back to primary branches, dig it up, and replant it. My large southern magnolia lost 2 branches, but overall did much better than I originally thought it did the day after Nemo. It is a bit misshapen now and I am wondering if it is time for a very aggressive pruning next get it all tight and bushy again. I think the main message is....prune prune prune. The more you do it...correctly...the better the odds the tree or shrub will survive these historic events.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 4:55PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

My southern Magnolia ("Bracken's Brown Beauty") was weighed down by Nemo as well. Lower branches were down to the ground. I went out the following day and GENTLY worked them out of the snow. There was a lot of snow still clinging, and I worked it off by gently banging the clumps. I didn't want to snap the branches by shaking and having the weight of the snow chunks act like a pendulum. It sprang back almost 100% and looks good. My 7 foot Camellia japonica "April Blush" was nearly flattened. I couldn't really get to it after the storm so it was on its own. It has sprung back really well, and I don't see any signs of breakage, which is great because it has at least 200 fat buds! The Aucuba japonica was also flattened but has recovered very nicely. My yellow knockout roses, that were planted only last May, are a mess. Nearly every branch is broken, some in two places! The red ones, three years old, did not suffer any damage at all.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 4:12PM
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rockman50(6b SEMASS)

Bill: My southern Magnolia is also a BBB. It is about 25 ft tall. This variety does have a more floppy branching I try to keep it as tight as possible by pruning. I have another southern magnolia...a small (4 ft) Edith Bogue. That variety has a very stiff branching structure...and it wasn't damaged at all by the snow. But a leyland cypress 10 feet away was totally destroyed.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 6:25PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Rockman: Too bad about that cypress. BTW that's a typo in my last. The camellia is 6 feet, not 7. I really like broadleaf evergreens because they keep things looking alive during winter, when so many trees and shrubs are just gray twigs. But there is always the risk of damage with heavy snow on those wide leaves. I even have a Trachycarpus out in the garden, and despite some protection during the coldest two weeks in January, it doesn't look so good. My hardy gardenia and rosemary look OK now, but time will tell.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 5:19AM
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spedigrees z4VT

So sorry for the tree and plant damage caused by Nemo, Rockman and Bill. I hope the laurel survives the uprooting. It is hard to imagine the force it took to uproot trees and large shrubs. I also hope your yellow roses will regenerate, Bill.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 11:59AM
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