Return to the New England Gardening Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Where is Spring???

Posted by terrene 5b MA (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 10:02

Hi guys, it's been awhile since I've posted much, and it may be a slow gardening year for me anyway. But does anybody else feel like they're in a time warp? The calender says Spring has arrived, but it sure doesn't look or feel like it outside.

To be fair, there are a few signs of Spring - snow is slowly melting, the birds and squirrels are courting, the days are full of light and sunshine, the bulbs around the foundation are popping up.

But when I checked a couple days ago, the Hamamelis 'Arnold Promise' is not very promising - just barely unfurling it's blooms. And the crocuses and snowdrops up near the foundation are budding but not blooming!

Weird...


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Hi Terrene,

Nice to see you. :-)

And another storm that they are now sounding pretty definite about on Tuesday night going into Wednesday. The cape is supposed to get the brunt of it. Sorry, Claire! But, there is mention of a warming trend coming into play after that. Fingers crossed.

This has been a wild winter and now a cold spring. Normally, I would have been outdoors pruning and maybe doing some spring clean up for a couple of weeks already. It makes me wonder what kind of a growing season we are in for.

And despite the frequent snow storms, I don't feel like we've gotten enough moisture to start the growing season off to a good start. If we get a sudden hot dry summer, it's going to be tough. I thought last season ended up dry and we could have used a few soakers this spring.

I wonder if that old saying about March will apply this year? In like a Lion, out like a Lamb? April is up next…can we hope for April showers? :-)

This post was edited by prairiemoon2 on Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 11:07


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Another winter storm! We'll get some here in Providence..........they're saying 4-7 inches of blowing snow, 30-40 mph winds. Further east even worse, and so of course the cape is in most danger. I hope those of you out there will be OK!

I, for one, am sick of it. But last spring took forever to get here also. As it turned out, for me at least, it was a bit of luck because my trip to the Netherlands to see the tulips at Keukenhof Gardens worked out perfectly. Spring in Europe was also slow to arrive, and although I toured the gardens one day before the scheduled close, the tulips were late and actually at their peak!

Making me think more and more about heading west to California for good.............

Photobucket


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

You can count yourself lucky that you can actually see bulbs coming up. We still have 5 foot snow banks up here and a complete snow cover looking like late December. Although the sun is bright, we are still having temperatures below freezing, so the snow is going nowhere. And every few days we have a little 'insurance' keeping it all white. When will it end?


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

I do enjoy winter to a degree. I like snow and that makes a difference in my attitude I guess. But I really like March to be warming up enough to get out in the garden at least a little. I can't see moving West though, because I think I would hate dealing with drought even more than a late spring.

Northerner, I didn't realize you were still having temps below freezing and all that snow!! Do you normally have a short growing season?


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Well, I actually feel a little better because apparently it could be worse. At least this Spring nor'easter is tracking more to the south, and we only have partial snow cover (my guess 10-20%).

However I will feel very gypped if we go quickly from winter to summer because I love Spring! That is one thing that must be nice about living on the coast, nice slow Springs and long Autumns.

Bill your trip through the tulips sounds nice.

Hi PM2, speaking of pruning, I just got out yesterday and started doing a little. Starting slow, due to a bad fall in December and yet more injury to arms, but I have a major tree job slated for sometime over the next week, and gotta do some prep for that. It was nice to get out there even if it was super windy and didn't get above freezing all day.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Spring in Keukenhof Gardens (May 18, 2013)

Amsterdam Keukenhof Gardens photo DSCF1461_zpsb927a83e.jpg

Amsterdam Keukenhof Gardens photo DSCF1476_zps4e407463.jpg

Amsterdam Keukenhof Gardens photo DSCF1295_zps5aa6ce34.jpg

Photobucket


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Wow, my eyes just got a shock from the color! So vivid! And so different from the earth tones outside right now. I love that last pic, absolutely beautiful, looks like a painting.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 25, 14 at 12:23

And they say there is no such thing as 'perfect'. Looks perfect to me, Bill! As for the timing of 'spring', I remember traveling by train from Amsterdam to Paris in May of 1988, and saw fields of tulips out then and it was close to the 3rd-4th week of May. I also remember standing on our deck on a June 5th in the early '90s with my winter coat on. So when we say it's late because we're tired of gray skies and cold, I think it's all in the pudding. I, too, would prefer 50-78 degrees most of the year. However, my biggest concern now, in this rapidly evolving climate, is what to grow on my deck in large raised garden bins that will survive 3-4 summer weeks of 90-110 degrees at high noon. I bought 5 different varieties of sunflower seeds. Maybe they'll be happy.

Good photos, Bill. Oh, because of you, I went to Roger Williams Botanical Gardens 2 weeks ago - it was wonderful - so thanks for mentioning the park. It's lovely.

Jane


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Beautiful, Bill! Thanks for the pick-me-up.

Molie


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Where IS spring?! When you find it please send it my way


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

I needed to look at my photos to remind me of what spring is like. The gardens were amazing. We were told that seven million bulbs are planted every year! But I do at least have half a dozen yellow crocuses blooming now. As of 5:30AM here in Providence, no snow so far, just some wind. I hope this means that the storm maybe went farther east, out to sea, and spared the Cape and islands.

Photobucket


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Beautiful photos Bill! I’m tired just looking at how many holes they had to dig for all those tulips! My favorite is the middle photo. Clean, clear water, huge old trees in their natural form…nice!

No snow here, just a lot of wind blowing in all directions. I saw some crocus foliage starting to peek out yesterday.

Terrene, that’s terrible about your arms again. I remember you had an injury a year or two ago. I hope it won’t keep you out of the garden long this time. We have a couple of shrubs we’re cutting back to the ground this year and then will have a few to move. I’m not a speed demon this year either. :-)

Spring is my favorite season too! I hope we get a decent amount of time before it gets too hot!


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Ann, the garden there is amazing. I felt very lucky to be able to go there at just the right time. We were in Tuscany before that and the gardens at the villa were really beautiful too. And we got to see some poppies in the Tuscan countryside, although it wasn't a banner year for them when there are thousands and thousands covering the hillsides. Still, it was very beautiful.

Photobucket


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 26, 14 at 15:25

Well, Spring is sure not here in Plymouth. It's stopped snowing (probably 3 to 4 inches although it was snowing sideways) and the wind is considerably less than it was. The power was off for a few hours but it's back on now. And we had it relatively easy, Nantucket got hurricane force winds. DtD probably got close to that in Falmouth.

Spring in the Netherlands looks really good right now.

Claire


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

I'm kind of afraid to have spring come. Little by little the snow has been receding on our front yard and it looks like it was a banner year for voles. I'm hoping they had the most fun in the lawns and not my garden beds.
Shhhhh....don't tell my DH I said that!! LOL!


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Thyme, funny you should bring that up! I was doing some pruning in a front bed the past couple days, where I had transplanted some Hostas last fall. The ground was feeling very soft and "fluffy" in that bed as I was cleaning up, the way it does when voles have tunneled all through the top couple inches.

This is the only front bed where I had NOT used the castor oil solution last fall, but am now thinking that I should have... :(

Wow Claire, hurricane force winds. It has indeed been very windy on my lot for the past 3 days, especially today.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

It's not here in northern CT just 2 miles south of the MA state line. Winds today were scary--lost a couple of empty milk jugs I'd set on a table on the breezeway. They're flat gone. Didn't lose any of my (whopping 13) winter sown milk jugs but am guessing they might be frozen to the breezeway cement so that might explain why they're not in Monson or Brimfield, MA by now.

If it turns out to be a banner year I'm in a world of hurt. The deer finally discovered my garden after a blessed 9-year escape. The deer + voles could theoretically wipe out the garden beds I've worked since 2006 to create.

Bill - I've really enjoyed seeing your garden evolve and tipped my hat at you challenging the zones. I expect I'll soon share your pain since I'm guessing it's headed in my direction.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Thanks to everyone for the nice comments on my photos.
* * *
I certainly hope nobody got any damage from yesterday's storm. What a winter season this has been (including early spring it seems!)

Photobucket


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

The only way I can see spring bulbs today is if I go out in the garage and look at the package of bulbs I bought late last fall at half price and never planted.

Raccoons have discovered our bird feeders and deer got into the vegetable garden last fall. I'll have to start using the repellant spray again. Saw one vole on top of the snow not too long ago. Also, once this winter I saw a fox diving into the snow after some kind of little critters. Hope he got them.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Where is Spring? New England doesn't have a Spring. I've lived here 18 years and could ask this same question every year but one that I've lived here. Every year it's the same thing, cold until late May/early June. I'm shocked that anyone who has lived in this area a while is ever looking for Spring because it never comes.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 28, 14 at 14:21

Now, now, tree_oracle, I agree that Spring is often very wimpy on the southeast MA coast, but we do occasionally get a nice season between winter and summer, and the rest of New England can be spectacular.

Of course Spring is sometimes the first week in June here (hopefully a full week), but there was a really good Spring a few years ago, I just don't remember when....gotta dig out the photo files...

I'm hoping that this year will be the best Spring ever - the crocuses survived the latest snow storm and the snow drops survived the turkey sitting on them.

If not, then there's always our Summer and Fall in southeast MA.

Claire


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Spring at the end of May, beginning of June?

That has not been my experience. April and at least half of May and sometimes half of March, qualify as spring in my mind. With some exceptional years, when summer started early and spring didn't last long. Very very few springs have been unseasonably cold and none that I can remember that were ever comparable to this year. Very few times have I not been out in the garden in March doing something. Pruning or clean up at least. I've never had frozen ground heading into April.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 28, 14 at 17:21

When I was still living and working in NYC but we had inherited the property here in Plymouth, MA, I used to plan a week's vacation each year for the first full week in May.

That week the daffodils were always blooming and the big old crabapple would start to flower. I would check out all the local nurseries and plant whatever caught my fancy. Usually the last frost was past although one year there was a frost after I left and the next time I came back (probably in late June) I was shocked to find my newly planted materials damaged by the frost.

Spring is slow-moving here by the southeast coast but by mid-April I should be seeing pieris flowers and some daffodils.

Claire


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

We would normally be in the midst of mud season right now. (Perhaps I should be thankful we're not.) However the glacier extending up to my dooryard and out across my property has gotten really old this year. Polar ice cap, you can melt any time now...


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Oh my Spedigrees, your pics remind me why I wouldn't want to live in a zone colder than where I am!

Well the tree company was here today, they took down the last humongous Norway maple on my lot - what a beast with a HUGE canopy. They've been here twice before over the years and removed 4 other big Norways (not to mention hundreds of smaller Acer platanoides that have had to be removed by me or friends w/chainsaws). I am so thrilled to have the last of those trees removed and now can expand the veggie garden.

The timing was near perfect because the ground is still mostly frozen solid, so the big trucks and tree limbs didn't do too much damage, and yet the temps were mild. It got warm enough today that I could feel Spring in the air. :)


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Spring is here on the south coast of Mass, I guess. What I mean by that is we have no snow and the crocuses are in bloom. That is progress I guess for this year anyway. Claire...I have a different take on spring in the far S/SE coast. In my experience living down here for 20 years, the first salvo of spring actually comes on fast and early down here because we almost never have a snow pack to melt off, our ground is thawed out and warms up very quickly as a result, and the mild bias of our S/SE coastal winter tends to linger into early spring. But then by April spring slows down quite a bit as the cold ocean tempers attempts at really warm air...so the inland areas begin to catch up.

This has been an exceptional March. Northern New England is having its COLDEST MARCH ON RECORD dating back to the late 1800's in some places. Temperatures in northern VT, for example, are running 10 to 13 degrees below normal for the month, which is amazing. I was up in NH last weekend (a few miles north of Concord--so not very far up at all) and I was really surprised by the very deep and solid snow pack.

But again....the crocuses are in bloom down here on the south coast. So spring is on the move...very very slowly. And my large Crape Myrtle scratched green this morning...so I think it is OK.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

I was thinking about what Tree Oracle said because I was surprised to hear him say that every year it’s cold until late May. And he’s in zone 6b vs my 6a and I would expect it to be a little warmer there. So I went back and looked at old photos last night and what the garden looks like in April and May and clearly more is in bloom and the trees are leafing out in May. May is usually, to me at least, the most perfect month and it is still spring, unless we have early summer weather.

Maybe it’s a question of what your definition of spring is. By the calendar it’s March/April/May. And by the nursery rhyme isn’t it supposed to be March winds, April Showers, bring May flowers? To me it’s the absence of freezing temperatures and snow. It’s the ground thawing and the first crocus showing up. And when do I get outside to start work on the garden.

Maybe it’s also what temperatures your most comfortable with? I don’t enjoy the heat and humidity, so I really enjoy the cooler temperatures of spring. Any temperature between 50 degrees and 70 degrees is great to me. Especially if there is sun. I’m disappointed if the temperatures get into the 80s before June.

March is not the most comfortable month and some years it feels more like winter. This year more than any year in my memory. But the old saying, ‘In like a Lion out like a Lamb’ indicates at some point over the month things start to change from winter to spring. And by April, crocus and daffodils should be blooming and every day it doesn’t rain, should be gardening weather, so that qualifies as spring to me.

If anything, I thought our springs have been too warm…in the past maybe 10 years. [g] Even the last frost date map has changed to earlier last frost dates.

I used to think Global warming meant we are getting consistently warmer, but my understanding of that now is that climate changes are bringing more extreme weather and unpredictability. So I think we will only be more and more surprised by the weather every year, unfortunately.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Spedigrees, that is one sad sight! You even have snow still on your roof!! I hope next week starts to be warm enough for some melting for you. You sure could use it!

Terrene, SO happy for you that you’ve seen the last of your Norway Maples! I remember how much you’ve hated those. And more vegetable gardening! That is definitely exciting. Great way to kick off the gardening season this year.

Congratulations, Rockman on your 'green' Crape Myrtle! Maybe that means Bill will have some happy surprises too.

There’s a special on WBZ/Channel 4 tonight at 7p on the weather, that might be interesting.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Here in Z5b I would say the height of spring is late April to mid-may. The magnolias and bulbs start blooming, the summer perennials are waking up, seedlings are being moved to the greenhouse outside to start hardening off, pruning is either done or well under way, soil is warm enough to start working to get ready vor veggie garden, etc.

May is an absolutely gorgeous month in the garden and the temps are usually sweatshirt weather or t-shirts and some years even shorts! Except up here with those pesky black flies in May, we pretty much have to cover from head to toe regardless of how warm it is.

Early April can be a bit persnickety not knowing whether it wants to warm up or go back to sleep. Somehow no matter how "late" we think spring is, the plants always seem to catch up fairly early in the season. I don't think the garden will be too far behind come late April......at least here anyway......sorry Spedigrees you still have all that snow. We have a bit, but can see some areas of clearing by now. I hope the snow melts soon for you and the garden springs to life quickly!

Bill how about some more eye candy from Keukenhof?!


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 29, 14 at 10:17

spedigrees: That looks slippery leading to your house! Be careful walking!

rockman50 said:
"Claire...I have a different take on spring in the far S/SE coast. In my experience living down here for 20 years, the first salvo of spring actually comes on fast and early down here because we almost never have a snow pack to melt off, our ground is thawed out and warms up very quickly as a result, and the mild bias of our S/SE coastal winter tends to linger into early spring. But then by April spring slows down quite a bit as the cold ocean tempers attempts at really warm air...so the inland areas begin to catch up."

This sounds reasonable to me - I did have a burst of snowdrops and early crocuses before the inland areas this year, but every year the inland areas not only catch up but sprint ahead of my yard. "Inland" can be less than a mile or two away from the coast to show earlier bloom.

I'm glad your Crape Myrtle is OK - I haven't scratched my new little 'Hopi' but I completely uncovered it yesterday (I've been carefully taking layers off) so it's now exposed to sun and rain and I think it will be fine.

Claire


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 29, 14 at 13:21

rockman50: I wonder if our springs here on the southeast MA coast are more delayed than yours on the South Coast because of the presence or absence of the Gulf Stream.

As you know, the warm Gulf Stream runs north along the North American coast and heads off to Europe after brushing the outer Cape.

The cold Labrador Current, however, runs south and affects the New England coast down to Cape Cod Bay.

When I was a kid, we all knew that it was much warmer to swim at the beaches on the outside of the Cape than in the Bay. This temperature difference should be active in late winter/early spring too, so this could make the sluggish warm up of the colder ocean even slower here than on the South Coast.

Just thinking about spring.

Claire


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Claire: That could be a factor. The heat content of the ocean directly south of New England is greater than the Gulf of Maine and areas to the east of New England. So at my location along the south coast over towards RI, a **light ** NE wind in spring with sunshine produces very mild conditions, because the NE wind is a land breeze here. Our sea breeze is a SW wind, which is a warm weather wind direction. So I guess the sea breeze here is warmer than the sea breeze along east facing coastal areas. And last summer I recorded a water temperature, in the surf, at Horseneck Beach of 81 degrees! Yes....81. I measure it every summer at the end of July. It is usually 75 or so. But last July was the warmest month ever recorded in SE New England...remember that???


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 29, 14 at 18:22

Excellent point, rockman50, about your sea breeze coming from the warm SW and the NE wind being a land breeze. Here the sea breeze is E or NE and cooler (which is very welcome in the summer).

81 degrees is astonishing for a water temperature! Around here that might only occur in the top two inches of the water after a long sunny spell (I have memories of trying to float in the top two inches without reaching down into the cold, cold, bottom water).

It would be nice to have a warm month again, although I'd rather it not be a record.

Claire


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

I bravely faced the butterfly bushes and ornamental grasses earlier today and pruned both back which tells me I've officially acknowledged that spring has finally arrived here in northern CT. Other than specific notes on certain perennials/grasses/shrubs, I don't keep track from year to year but it does seem rather later than in seasons past. You know how a look at the calendar prompts you to think, oh yes, it's time to prune the butterfly bushes or the grasses? I had that thought two weeks ago but at the time the lawn was still buried under too much frozen snow (similar to the photo posted by spedigrees, above).

On a happier note, while pruning the Buddleia I discovered crocus & snowdrops in bloom & daffodils up about 4" along the south foundation. My sadly smushed Hellebores have a few buds beginning to open and I noticed some early growth on my Pulmonaria.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

North Alabama, where I grew up, is the only place I've lived that had four true seasons. The seasons there are lined up almost exactly with their respective calendar definitions. You experience Spring starting in March with the weather warming up and everything starting to bloom. March can have some violent weather there but I always thought of it as Spring pushing Winter away until next year. You can start planting your crops in March and you get good growth with the warmer temperatures of a true Spring.

I few years back, I was playing golf in Acushnet on the South Coast of MA in the first week of June and it was extremely windy, in the mid-30's and snow flurries were flying around. I've lived here a long time and there is no one that's going to convince me the weather here doesn't stay cold until late May. I'm not just talking where I live which takes even longer to warm up than the inland areas. I need more than blooming plants to tell me that it's Spring. I need the moderate temperatures of Spring. The ongoing theme with several posts here is that May is considered a good Spring month. That is almost two months after Spring officially arrived on the calendar!! Are you kidding me!


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

I've lived in New England my whole life and I'm old enough to have grown children. When I was growing up spring was a little more predictable but global warming has changed that over the years, somewhat.

I said May is the 'ideal' month. April is spring weather in New England too. Aside from the changes that global warming has brought, the temperatures range from 50s to 70s a good part of the month, with some days lower or higher and maybe one 'quick to melt' snowstorm some years.

For instance, last April in my community, the temperatures were in the 50's to 70s on twenty four days out of the month. And Acushnet last year, had twenty three days of temperatures in the 50s to 70s. That is what I consider moderate temperatures, spring temperatures. Temperatures for a light spring jacket or sweatshirt, not shorts and short sleeves. Maybe you define moderate as 70s and 80s, I don't know.

And cold weather crops are meant to be planted here in April, not May. May is too late and risks running into hot weather.

You seem to be comparing Alabama springs to New England springs. You do realize how many miles to the south Alabama is from Massachusetts? [g] And you call Alabama springs a 'true' spring! Well, there you go..! You grew up there and the spring you experienced as a child is the one you will always think of as what spring weather is supposed to be like.

This post was edited by prairiemoon2 on Sun, Mar 30, 14 at 12:07


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

If you were to triple the snow pack in Spedigrees photo you'd have an idea of what my yard and garden looks like today.
Snow melt finally started yesterday and now there are flood warnings for VT/NH.
All will 'catch up' with the calendar at some point and spring here will be mid-May.

Thanks 'Bill in RI' for the colorful photos!


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Ahh, another beautiful Spring day in New England. Temps in the 30's with snow flurries and a wind chill factor around 10. New England has the best Springs of anywhere in the world. NOT!!


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Ahhhhh! A gorgeous spring day out there today! April 1st and not a cloud in the sky heading into the 50s today. Very happy to have had more than 3 inches of rain to start the growing season right. A day like today just couldn't be more perfect!

Hope everyone with snow is getting the same and a lot of melting today!


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Yes today felt like Spring. No wind either which was really nice after about a week of windy days. Got out there and started cleaning up the front gardens. I dragged 2 big tarp fulls of leaves/perennials/grass debris out back. And this is after some fall cleanup and raking out only 1/2 the leaves. Next is the xeric garden which has tons of grasses. And then the back gardens...not to mention a zillion sticks that are laying around, mostly from the tree work.

Hmmm....Spring cleanup is a lot of work. I am thinking about getting a battery operated trimmer, because doing all this by hand with hedge shears and pruners and saws is pretty tedious and I am not as young as I used to be. But it is good exercise.

Gardenweed, I held off on cutting back the big Buddleia 'Black Knight' because there isn't any new growth yet, but the BB's are probably okay at this point either way. Usually cut back to nice healthy shoots and try to thin and shape it a little.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Wow, we sat on the kitchen porch in the afternoon with glasses of iced tea. Of course, we were wearing jackets but NO mittens! My husband became fascinated with the melt patterns which are identical for all our trees. The snow melts fastest/sooner in a southwesterly direction. A visiting friend is jealous because we can see some grass. Daffodils next to the walk are up at least three quarters of an inch! The herb garden next to the porch is showing some signs of coming to life. Sage needs to be but back a lot. We have hopes of locating the beets and parsnips I covered with straw late last fall and hopes that there will be something edible. I put the parsnips in late so we'll be lucky to have baby parsnips. Heard a bear was sighted in Laconia recently. Turkeys appear to be getting ready for mating season. One harem has been visiting the seed that is thrown on the ground while a big male puffs up and stands guard. According to newspaper article, farmers will be at least a month late getting into fields this year. Bad news.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

If you live at least 30 miles west of the coast, you'll get spring WAY before we will living here..

With the ocean temps at a whopping 38 degrees and a majority of our springs with sea breezes, I can forsee jackets and frosty night until at least the end of May, or at least until the ocean warms up of we get more land breezes..

Keeps your finger crossed...It was 45 here where I am last year, and after driving just 25 miles west into orange M.A., it jumped to 89 degrees for the visit while I was there.
As soon as I heade back towards the coast that end of the afternoon, i drove into drizzle low clouds and back into the 40's..It stunk and I am almost tempted to move away from the coast now..You can't even get hot weather long enough to enjoy the coast, so what's the point? lol

The sea breezes seem to love us right into July now just to return by mid August..Talk about shorter hot periods and cooler weather earlier..

MIke


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

terrene - I always cut my butterfly bushes back around mid-March. All are all 'Black Knight' grown from seed via winter sowing (Token sent me the seeds back in 2009 or 2010). At a guess, I got like 150% germination--the milk jug looked like a Chia pet. They've been planted out since they were big enough and all have thrived in the years since.

I don't wait for new growth to show on them--they're all so healthy, I just mark my (somewhat unreliable) mental calendar to cut them back to about 10-12 inches around mid-March. This year cutting them back was delayed by a couple of weeks due to the frozen snow/ice in the garden.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Mike, I did live on the coast in summer for a few years, and I'd forgotten about the cooler temperatures and the misty foggy mornings. As a kid, I do remember being disappointed that it was too cool to go swimming, and sometimes ignoring that and going to the beach and freezing. lol Maybe this year will be hotter!

Gardenweed, I checked my Butterfly Bushes today and I see no growth at all on four of them. I don't know whether to worry yet, or not. I'm going to have to look through old photos to see how early I have seen new growth in the past. I always wait to cut mine back, like Terrene, too. And wouldn't you know, I added two new butterfly bushes last fall.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

tree-oracle, What types of flowers are blooming by April 1st in Alabama? What specific things about the spring do you miss in comparison to spring in NE?

Spring in Virginia was always nice. We'd get to take family trips into DC to see the cherry trees bloom! But I definitely love spring in Coastal 6b MA. Everything is about to burst open with color...

Spring is definitely in Chestnut Hill. This week's forecast is rain and sun, temps in the 50s-70s depending on the microclimate or the breeziness of the region. But I walked around Boston in the Brighton neighborhood today, and spring is there too. Here's some ~inspiring~ spring pictures. First, an odd looking plant at Chestnut Hill Public Garden that I can't identify.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Sage at the CHPG which seems to have overwintered just fine.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

What I think are lilacs, eager to open up in CHPG.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Strawberries that overwintered and were poking out from underneath the leaf-cover, CHPG


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Brighton MA, an apartment building's front garden, full of sprouting bulbs.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Brighton MA


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Anybody know the name of this very mathematic-looking plant? Brighton MA


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

crocuses! Brighton, MA


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Does anyone know what flower this is? Could it be an iris? (I have doubts because the ones in my yard bloom much later than this). Brighton, MA


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Spring started in January in Europe. No kidding. Europe experienced one of its warmest winters ever, and daytime highs in Lyon, Basel, Frankfurt, Paris, Zurich and other cities in the area have been pushing the upper 60s and low 70s in the past week. This is more like early June weather.
Overall, there is really nothing unusual about this winter/spring except that one part of the world got the short end of the stick, and others got the long end.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

The only white crocus in this garden is basking in the sunlight. Brighton, MA


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

HAPPY SPRING, ZONE 6B MA! Can't wait to start gardening...

-Persimmons


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Persimmons,

The flower that you're trying to ID is a Dutch iris. You may be comparing it to bearded iris, the one most people think of when it comes to iris.

The mathematic plant you refer to is most likely hen & chicks. It's a hardy succulent in the Echeveria family.

As far as the flowers in Alabama, I grew up in the northwestern corner of the state. There's a cutoff line about a third of the way down the state where if you are above that line, winters are about like they are on the MA coast (without the ocean storms obviously). Below that line, the weather is much more moderate. Although my mom and sister live just south of Birmingham (well below that line) and they had a very cold winter this year. The main differences where I grew up and here are the temperatures are about 5-10 degrees warmer on average (so you get a cold rain instead of a wet snow) and winter doesn't last as long. By March, the Bradford pears and saucer magnolias (called tulip trees in the South) are in full bloom. The witch hazels are blooming in January there. Basically, the same things bloom there but it's one to two months earlier than here. You can set you vegetables out one to two months earlier two. Some years, you can grow tomatoes from March until November. I really miss the longer growing season.

The coastal area where I live is getting some very cold sea breezes right now. It can look like a nice day from inside but as soon as you go outside, it's not so nice. There are pros and cons to living near the ocean and this is the biggest con for me. The winds and coastal storms are another big con. The soil here is terrible, too. The biggest pro is that the summer temps are moderated a bit by the sea breezes. The temps in the fall tend to stay warmer longer than inland areas.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

It sounds great to start the growing season in March. I think I would love that. I just couldn't tolerate the hot summers. We thought we wanted to move to Florida when I was just out of high school and my mother and my brother and I moved there. That climate is really a shock after New England. We stayed for 9 months and then moved back home. We spent more time in the air conditioning than outside.

This year, it must be really cold by the water. I notice how cold the water temperatures are. Not sure if they are colder than usual this time of year or not. Summer has to be great though, and of course, then you have the added bonus of the ocean around every corner. :-)


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

My wife is from here and the first time I took her to Alabama was in July of that year. I warned her ahead of time that the heat is really intense down there. She just blew me off saying, "Oh, it gets hot here, too". At the end of the first day down there, she was beet red and sweating and said, "Sweetie, I can't take this heat". It's very intense if you haven't felt it before. The air feels like a hot soup all around you. The sun is also much more intense. She was surprised at the landscape down there, too. Thick forests and mountains. It wasn't the swamp she was expecting.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Well, it was very good of you to move where your wife came from. I hope you get home to Alabama often. Do you still have family there?

Yes, the humid, 'soupy' air is what bothers me. I guess if you grow up there, you get used to it. I was very surprised when I was in Nevada that even though it was hotter temperatures than I'd ever been in before, it felt more comfortable than lower temps with higher humidity. Still in the a/c most of the time though. [g]

I always wonder if gardening in the South would be a little too challenging with snakes, recluse spiders and fire ants among other things. Have you ever gardened there?

I've never actually visited Alabama. We did drive down to Florida a couple of times and I can't remember which Southern States we traveled through. I wonder if you have a southern accent? :-)


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Persimmons, isn't it great to finally see something growing! If you were asking what is the plant in that first photo, I believe that is a Hyacinth bulb. Thanks for posting photos of your travels.

You're right SOkra, I have a relative visiting Europe now and they have been telling me how wonderful the weather is and how amazed everyone is there.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

I didn't move here for my wife. I move here for work. I met her after I moved here. I get back to Bama once a year to visit with my family usually in the summer.

I gardened extensively there. My maternal grandparents lived just four blocks away from us when I was growing up. My grandfather had two huge gardens. I would say that each of them was around 1/3 of an acre in size. He taught me everything I know about vegetable gardening.

You've seen too many movies about the South when it comes to the critters running around down there. While small garden snakes are common especially if you have blackberries or anything that forms a thicket of foliage, you don't have to be on guard about every step you take to make sure you're not about to step on a snake. If you live in a more urban area then snakes are not seen that often. In more rural areas like where I live now, you will occasionally run across a larger snake but they will leave you alone as long as you leave them alone. Unless you surprise one, they will always run away from you. There is one exception. If you live near water, you may have some cottonmouths near the water that will come after you if they get annoyed like they easily do in mating season. Black widows and brown recluse spiders are usually found in areas like under a deck or in a crawlspace. While I saw them many times growing up, it's not that common to see them. Keep in mind though that there are many species of spiders down there so your chances of seeing a spider in the garden are much better than here. Some of them are very large, too. But they don't usually pose a problem. Actually, the spiders and snakes help keep down the population of several other creepy crawlies there. You left out scorpions which can usually be found around stacks of things like firewood, bricks, rocks, etc. I've never been stung by one but I've heard it hurts like the dickens. Like spiders and snakes though, they help keep down the population of other things. I've never actually seen a fire ant hill in person in my life. I think those are more prevalent in south Alabama.

My accent would sound mild to you (like Bill Clinton although not quite as pronounced). I've lived over half of my life in the north so I've lost some of it. Bill Clinton doesn't have a deep voice but most Southern men do including me.


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

You are SO lucky to have grown up so close to your grandparents and that they gardened! I was the baby of the baby in the family so I never met either set of grandparents. No one in my family gardened and just after we moved into our first home, I met a friend who gardened organically and that's how I got started. I was almost 30 yrs old by then. I did learn I had two great aunts that gardened, but I never met them. That was a large garden your parents had! I can just imagine how many crops you could grow in that extended growing season! And watermelons, which never do well for me here, must be easy as pie.

So a Southern drawl, even a mild one is pretty neat. I bet you pick it up again when you are in Alabama for awhile.

I didn't realize you also had scorpions in the South. i thought they were only in the west. Wow, I guess your folks taught you early how to avoid being bitten by one thing or another. That would also take some getting used to. I tolerate spiders if they look like what I'm used to and I think I've had a garter snake in my yard once in 30 years. We're urban/suburban here. I do understand the necessity for them, just would rather keep my distance. [g]


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

Persimmons - I think your iris is a reticulated iris since they are the earliest iris. Reticulated iris bloom at about 4 inches. The other name for hens and chicks is Sempervirens, and some are just green, bluish-green, or more burgundy in color. I think your first unknown bulb is probably a hyacinth.

Here's my only garden that's enough out of the snow to have things blooming or even sprouting: some crocus which closed when the clouds came, a few reticulated iris, and some just-starting perennials. Most of my beds are covered in snow with frozen soil beneath them from all the winter rain followed by deep cold that we had.

(I notice that the photo no longer disappears if one makes an edit; how nice!)


 o
RE: Where is Spring???

"Where is Spring???"....Beats me! There's still 10 - 20" of snow on the ground and it's spitting a little more this AM.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the New England Gardening Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here