Greengirls Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka are dishin' the dirt from the back-yard garden and beyond. Whether you're a greenthumb or greenhorn, they're eager to learn from your mishaps, mistakes - and most importantly, your sweet successes - all growing season long.
How wacky a year is this? Just listen to the gabble of gardeners comparing notes on their garden's early risers and what seeds they've planted. For weeks at a stretch it almost seemed we'd been transported to Zone 6, but then the weather delivered a two-night punch to bring us back to down to Zone 4 earth. In the space of a few weeks I went from fretting about how plants would survive the lack of snow cover to astonishment at their rapid progress and fretting that a frost will zap them.
Sure, the spring bulbs weren't a big surprise. But the bleeding hearts are already bleeding, the peonies are up a foot and the neighborhood magnolias are nearly done with their annual show several weeks before we usually see buds on them. My lilacs -- which can be counted on to be in bloom every year on May 20 --already have tight clusters of buds poised to burst open a good four weeks before I usually see them.
The recent cold may give them pause. I did a quick walk through of the garden on the way out the door today but it was too early to tell how plants fared a second night's chill. The delphiniums look unhappy with their treatment, but perhaps some slightly warmer nights ahead will coax them back.
One plant that's behind its usual pace: All my heucheras had to come back from scratch this year; usually they emerge from their snow cover as nearly evergreen, where you can't tell whether the leftover leaves are alive or just in a holding pattern. This year there were no leftover leaves, but adorable little coral bell shoots in a buffet of colors are allaying my worries about lack of snow cover.
What's your "It's so early ...." story? Did any of your plants get hit by frost? And what difference has the lack of snow cover made in your garden? As always, fellow gardeners, jump in with what's on your mind.
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