Spring, sort-of, in Maryland

Jim McKenney jimmckenney@starpower.net
Mon, 28 Mar 2005 13:00:52 PST
Here it is the last week of March and the garden is still smiling only very
shyly. This year may set an odd record in that there may still be snowdrops
blooming on April 1 - and they will likely be Galanthus elwesii! For that
matter, this may also be the first year an Eranthis has persisted in bloom
into April: E. cilicica is in advanced bud now. E. × tubergenii 'Guinea
Gold' is in full bloom now. 


The first of the year's tulips are blooming; the kaufmanniana and greigii
hybrids are opening between rainy spells. Temperatures today are predicted
to be up into the 60s F - but it's cloudy and rainy too, so we'll see. Lots
of other tulips are showing bud color. Crocus in general are just about
over, their exit hastened by the rain. Still, there are a few to go,
including the white tommy from Jane McGary. 


In the cold frames, Calochortus seed is germinating; in this case it's C.
macrocarpus and the yellowish-white seeds are very conspicuous. Many, many
lilies are germinating, too. Among these are several pots of western North
American species (kelloggii, washingtonianum, rubescens and others). I have
not given up on these - yet! 


Established plants of Lilium hansonii are, as usual, the first of the true
lilies to be up above ground. 


Scoliopus hallii is well up and budded; and lots of self sown seedlings are
appearing around the parent plants. I have not been ignoring the recent
requests for Scoliopus seed or seedlings, but until a week ago or so I could
not see anything happening in this pot. 


Bigelow's Scoliopus is also up but I don't seed buds yet. 


Various Trillium are pushing up the leaves which covered them all winter. In
general, the sessile sorts are a bit earlier than the pedunculate sorts
here, although T. smallii, a pedunculate species, is sometimes the earliest
to actually bloom. 


Among the Paeonia, I can now see flower buds on some of the Paeonia
suffruticosa cultivars. Among herbaceous sorts, P. emodi and P. mascula are
as usual in a race to be the first to bloom. This year they have been joined
by P. wittmanniana. It's almost certain to be another three weeks before the
first peony blooms here. 


Scilla bifolia, S. tubergeniana/mischtschenkoana, Chionodoxa in several
sorts, various reticulate irises, and various Asarum are blooming, too.


A pair of red shouldered hawks is been seen frequently in the trees just
back of the garden. The squirrels are no doubt getting nervous. 


Spring peepers are in full chorus now that it's raining, but I have not yet
heard wood frogs or toads.  


Magnolia stellata has been trying to bloom for weeks. Warm sunny weather is
predicted for later this week, and it should be in full bloom then. Then,
I'll set up a garden chair nearby and doze enveloped in the wonderful scent
- and if I'm lucky, maybe the soft trill of a toad or the guttural
quack/bark of the wood frog will awaken me. 



Jim McKenney


Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7,  where I’m very excited by a
recent gift from a bulb growing friend: a pot of plants of Tulipa clusiana
‘old original’ (my unofficial name for it), the (presumably) pentaploid form
grown in gardens for centuries but for which no commercial source is known
to me.  



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