April 1 Maryland update

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@jimmckenney.com
Tue, 01 Apr 2008 17:46:28 PDT
What a day! It got warm during the afternoon and the garden really responded
fast. I started to make a list of things in bloom and quickly lost track of
things. Everywhere I turned there was something new and fetching. Begonia
grandis is already a foot out of the ground. Scilla natalensis is about to
bloom. Against the house wall there is a clump of Iris kirkwoodii two feet
across and full of buds and the earliest blooms. What a sight! A nice fat
clump of one of the greenish brown forms of Iris persica is a dome of bloom
almost the size of a half cantaloupe. Lilium rubellum is up and heavily
budded. Out in the back garden Magnolia campbellii is in full bloom. The
forty foot Cornus nuttallii came through the winter unscathed and is loaded
with buds. I cut down the Araucaria araucana today – it was growing too fast
and had gotten too big for its site. No more will that prickly monster drop
its cannon balls on my unsuspecting back or head. 
A pot of Fritillaria recurva was divided yesterday – fifteen or so will go
to the local NARGS chapter, another ten to my local club. They are in bloom,
so they’ll go fast. Also divided was little Narcissus alpestris – it got so
crowded I thought the pot might crack. 
Wind last week pulled Rhododendron arboreum nearly out of the ground: the
massive head of this plant catches every breeze. 
I had no idea Tecophilaea multiplied so fast – what a nuisance! And the
Myosotidium have to go – the bloom to foliage ratio is ridiculous. 
Isotria medeoloides has clumped nicely and will bloom this year. 
I wintered the Welwitschia in the cold protected cold frame and it seems to
be producing strobili – amazing! The Worsleya were also wintered in the same
frame and have really put on size during the cold months – one of them also
seems to be budded. Tropaeolum azureum has to go - what a rampageous weed!  
The office of the Architect of the Capitol had a big sale of surplus boxwood
from the US Capitol grounds today – I was down there at the crack of dawn
with the pick up truck.  So intent was I on getting my dozen plants that I
forgot to note which early nineteenth century president had planted them and
when. I suppose I can find out later. They had a couple of cherry trees,
too, but they wouldn’t fit in the truck. Security was a hassle, but it was
worth it. 
The heat today caused the Victoria in the goldfish pond to open a flower.
Boy do those things smell!
Copperheads and rattlesnakes are basking on the rocks of the rock garden, a
reminder to me to keep the dog in lest April indeed become the cruelest
month. Deer have been scarce lately, probably because of the bear which has
been terrorizing trash cans in the neighborhood. 
I cut the first cucumbers from the garden today – they were still warm from
the sun when we ate them. And I think I see silk on the earliest corn. I’ll
probably spend all day tomorrow disbudding chrysanthemums. 
Not bad for the first day of April!

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone
7, where I think I just saw an ivory billed woodpecker.  
My Virtual Maryland Garden http://www.jimmckenney.com/
BLOG! http://mcwort.blogspot.com/
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin http://www.pvcnargs.org/ 
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society http://www.potomaclilysociety.org/

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