If, in the middle of winter, you had told me my last frost this spring was going to occur on May 6th, I would have said, “Har-de-har-har” in my most sarcastic voice. But that is what happened. Furthermore, that lone frost of 29F (-1.7C) occurred after a string of frost-free weather stretching all the way back to April 23rd–just about two weeks. I can still hardly believe that we went through an entire spring with virtually no frost.
Did I dream it? The plants say no.
Poster child for the frost-free spring is Cynanchum ascyrifolium, a plant I purchased from the late, great Seneca Hill Perennials. I visited this nursery several years ago, and saw this plant in bloom. It bowled me over with its floriferous habit, so I ordered one in 2005. Here’s how it looked on May 19, 2009:Now keep in mind, this photo was taken 13 days after the date we had our last frost this year.
This is how that same plant looked on June 13, 2010:Looks like it’s making a decent showing, yes? But now look at it a year later: Now this plant looks like the one I saw in the nursery seven years ago!
Many other plants looked better than ever this year. After a two-year hiatus caused by untimely hard freezes, my bearded irises bloomed in force, some for the first time ever. The Oriental poppies were also spectacular. The daylily foliage has never looked so lush. And for the first time in several years, we have baby apples growing on our apple trees.
It was the perfect spring for the plants. The humans found it rather gloomy. The reason we had so little frost was because we had so much cloud cover, trapping the earth’s heat at night. We had record amounts of rain, delaying spring planting of peas and spinach by several weeks.
Truly, there is no such thing as a perfect season. What are advantages to some plants become disadvantages to others. But this almost frostless spring showed me how much our typical weather sets so many plants back. Now I know that what I thought was their normal growth pattern is really only the best they can do under adverse circumstances.
Maybe I was better off not knowing.
Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens, and leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.