A Tale of Two Seasons

Woke up to this:

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Every twig, every leaf, every surface has snow on it.

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When I look up into the trees, the first thing that pops into my head is “reindeer antlers”, for some reason.  What do you think?

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Soon, I hope, the temperature will rise above freezing so the snow will begin to drop off the plants.  It’s heavy and wet, and many of the shrubs are arching over a bit too much for comfort…I am praying for no breakage.

Checking my notes, I see we had a dusting of snow on March 27, 2011.  The photos show the flowers much more advanced than this year.  It’s been a cold, cold March–many days more like January.  While snow is not uncommon this late in the season (and even a dusting on the flowers in early April is fairly common), I can’t remember having this much so late.  I measure 3″-4″, and it’s still snowing.

The cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin are due to peak in a week–really?  Hard to believe on a day like today, yet it will come to pass.  My hillside of blooming daffodils is hidden under the snow this morning.

Can’t wait for shorts, flip-flops, and flowers!

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Posted under The Spring Garden, The Winter Garden, Weather vagaries

This post was written by Jeff Minnich on March 25, 2013

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Greetings from Wilmington, NC

Loropetalum beginning to bloom in our front yard

Loropetalum beginning to bloom in our front yard

After what always seems like an eternity (in other words, getting through January), I made it down here to Steve’s in Wilmington.  I’ve been here a week and, already, I feel the relaxation and calm streaming into my body and the stress and tension slowly draining out.  The air is not all that much warmer down here–though I don’t sense the chill that emanates from the ground in Arlington at this time of year–yet the sun is much, much brighter, warmer, and intense.  It’s done wonders for my outlook!

We’ve had lots of rain.  That’s a good thing since there have been many years of drought and heat down here and the soil is practically all sand.  Great for digging (compared to the rocky clay in Arlington); not so great for holding moisture or nutrients.

With the rain and warmer sun, the plants are responding with bloom.

Carolina Jessamine around our front porch

Carolina Jessamine around our front porch

Camellia 'Taylor's Perfection'

Camellia 'Taylor's Perfection'

Cheerful Daffodils in the bright sunlight

Cheerful Daffodils in the bright sunlight

Carrying over from Winter, Tea Olives powerfully fill the garden with a deep, sweet fragrance

Carrying over from Winter, Tea Olives powerfully fill the garden with a deep, sweet fragrance

One of Wilmington’s crown jewels is the annual Azalea Festival.  This year, it’s happening April 10th-14th.  The entire town is filled with blooming Azaleas, gorgeous gardens (there’s a big fundraising tour) and glamorous belles–yes, in hoop skirts.  I was asked to write an article on a couple of the featured gardens for the April issue of Wrightsville Beach Magazine. Today, I met my charming contact and she took me by two of the gardens.  They are all that and some change, and I can’t wait for you to see them…but for that you’ll have to wait.  Meantime, I did snap some close-ups of flowers in these two gardens, and I’m sharing those here.

Camellias...

Camellias...

Forsythia...

Forsythia...

Variegated Winter Daphne

Variegated Winter Daphne...

And a lovely, canopied street here in Wilmington--appropriately called Live Oak Drive

And a lovely, canopied street here in Wilmington--appropriately called Live Oak Drive

Tomorrow, we are heading South for a week in the Low Country:  Charleston and Beaufort, SC, and Savannah, GA.  We can’t wait to get to our beloved Low Country and savor the gardens, history, architecture, and surprises along the way.  We want to explore the Sea Islands and see as many plantations and gardens as we can.

Photos by the blogger; if you copy, please link back.

Posted under Fragrance in the garden, Garden Tours, Garden Travel, Gardeners, Southern Gardens, Spring Flowers, The Spring Garden, The Winter Garden, Travel

Appearances Ain’t Everything

It sure looks like Spring out there–if you’re looking at the plants, that is.  The weather is still cloudy, damp and cold here in the DC area.  But tomorrow may be sunny and in the mid-80s, so I’ll take it.

Here are a couple of shots of my front garden, taken Thursday evening.

Photos by the author.  If you copy, please link back.

Camellia japonica...on steroids this year, I think!

Camellia japonica...on steroids this year, I think!

Posted under Spring Flowers

This post was written by Jeff Minnich on April 10, 2011

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Get Those Bulbs In!

It’s now time to plant your spring-flowering bulbs. Here in the Mid-Atlantic/Upper South, we are already into planting Daffodils, Narcissus, Crocus, Snowdrops…but the ground is still a little too warm to plant Tulips and Hyacinths. Best to wait until November and December to plant those, when the soil has cooled a bit more. Of course, in the North, all should go in ASAP; in the South, where bulbs can be planted, things are just revving up.

And you can plant bulbs anytime you can get a trowel in the ground and dig a deep enough hole…I’ve planted bulbs in January, or even February, and had them come up and bloom. Sure, they might be out of sync that first year (coming up and blooming later), but they roll into the cycle of all the others come year two.

Posted under Spring Flowers

This post was written by Jeff Minnich on October 19, 2010

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