Monday, April 21, 2008

Unseasonably Warm Today; Implications?

More tulips sprung open today with the onslaught of late May temperatures. It was almost 80 degrees today which I'm sure put everyone in a good mood (although the plants were confused). You can literally see the day to day changes as plants stretch out of the ground and the buds on trees swell and begin to open. It's not unusual to have an April hot spell. However, the danger is in being duped in to thinking that winter's touch (frost) is no longer a danger. We'll have more frost and the early emergence of tender plant growth may be susceptible to damage in coming weeks. However, why not enjoy the sunshine!? Unfortunately, many of the early bulbs will finish sooner than normal with more unseasonably warm days on the way. It sure is good working weather though!

This image is from Saturday and shows some of the wonderful youth of Janesville helping us pot up perennials for our May plant sale. I was very impressed with these kids. We have worked with many teens that need to fulfill community service hours and they can be difficult to motivate when we are part of their "forced servitude." However, enthusiastic groups like our Saint Matthews helpers were motivated and hard working. Our larger workdays can be a challenge to prepare for and orchestrate, but with the help of other staff and volunteers, we manage to pull it off successfully. We never want a volunteer to feel that we're not prepared to maximize their valuable contribution of time!
The image below is one of my favorite spring bulbs. This windflower (Anemone blanda) is planted as a small bulb in October. While short in stature, this plant has lacy foliage and very large, daisy-like blooms. It is probably one of the more asked-about bulbs out in the spring garden. The blooms emerge in late April and last a week or two depending on the temperatures. The foliage goes dormant and disappears by mid-June. Buy these bulbs by the dozen and look for the pretty blue variety too!

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