We had a cold, hard Winter and were all eager to see the arrival of Spring. After being buried in more than three feet of snow for more than two months, it was really nice to see the ground once more.
The feeders were very popular, even during the middle of a Nor’easter. We put out food for the birds all Winter long as there was nothing else available to them. Once the snow disappeared, we pulled back on the feed to encourage those who have gotten accustomed to the buffet to start “working for a living” again.
With three feet of snow on the ground well into March, things in the RainyDayGarden didn’t get going until mid-April. Here is a comparison of how the garden looked on April 12, 2012 and in April 2015.
By late April the typical early bloomers finally woke up:
Not all of the tulips came back this year, and the ones that did seemed to be noticibly smaller. Maybe it was the late start; maybe they are starting to get tired. Regardless, we’ll be planting some bulbs this Fall for next Spring.
The other May flowers did not appear any worse for wear from the harsh Winter. The Bloodroot actually looked a lot nicer than we remembered from previous years.
The insect population may also have taken a hit because of the cold. We did see some lady bugs, which is always good, but very few grasshoppers and mason bees. There were hardly any Japanese lily beetle sightings, so some of the lilies may even make it to bloom this year!!!
The vines (wisteria, clematis, etc) all made it through. The surprise standout this year was the lilac bush. It had the best blooms in recent memory. Guess it liked the cold Winter!
We had collected a lot of seeds (Irises, Day Lilies, etc) from various plants last year because we wanted to try our hand at propagating things from seed. Our first attempts appeared to be going quite well. A lot of them sprouted and we gradually moved them outside so they could get acclimated before planting. Our only mistake was some of the seeds got mixed up so we are not really sure what’s what… Guess we’ll just plant them and see what pops up.
Most of the plants “caught up” by early June. The Peony buds were plentiful and getting ready to open. The Spiderworts were shorter than last year, but otherwise in fine shape.
By mid-June, the Peonies had pretty much bloomed themselves out, but the Spiderworts were still going vigorously. We noticed a few mutant spiderworts this year, white ones amongst clusters of purple. Spiderworts have tissues that serve as an effective bioassay for ambient radiation levels. Meaning: when Spiderworts are exposed to sources of ionizing radiation such as gamma rays, their cells mutate and change color.
Hmmm, perhaps it would be a good idea to put up a better shield for our “junior scientist” experiments. Just sayin’.
The Day Lilies never seem to mind the weather; they just keep on coming back regardless. They are happy in the sun, in the shade, pretty much everywhere we put them. We started off with about a dozen plants and there are now hundreds of them around the garden. They are easy to grow, look great, and bloom from mid-to late June and well into July. It is probably our favorite plant in the RainyDayGarden.
Here is a panoramic view of the back section of the RainyDayGarden. Quite a difference from the snow-covered grounds of March. It is nice to know that no matter how harsh the Winter plants will eventually “do their thing.”
We have a few projects planned for the RainyDayGarden this year—splitting the peonies, moving some day lilies around, etc—but nothing dramatic. We are looking to reintroduce a Passiflora vines as well, because after surviving for three seasons the vine did not make an appearance last year. We are going to start them from seed, but grow them in pots so that we can bring them in for the Winter. We will have more when we get the project off the ground.
The next update on the garden will at the end of the Summer. Have a great season!