A Rose That Was Too Successful

I love Rosa setigera, a June-bearing native rose that is somewhat variable in size, judging by the information I could find online. I was hoping for a medium-sized shrub when I put it in the rain garden in 2017, but it had other ideas. I moved it from the rain garden into the myrtle next to the house in 2020.

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Ginger’s Water Tale

We had a 5¼-inch rain deficit from September–December 2022. It turned out to be the third-driest year of this century for us.

I was thinking that we started spring relatively well hydrated until I checked the local precipitation data through the National Weather Service. January–March had a rainfall surfeit of over 2½ inches, but that didn’t completely make up for last fall. It was enough rain at the right time to make the early spring plants happy, including the ginger.

Wild ginger coming up. Photographed on April 17, 2023.

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Roses in June and Keeping Track of Names

The roses seem relatively happy this year, although I think at least a couple will need to be moved this fall due to encroaching shade.

I have a very nice apricot shrub rose that catches sunbeams in early morning light. It’s been bugging me for years, so I decided to see if I ever knew the varietal name of this rose. I started with my photographs from 2000. Yes—the end of the last century; I have verified that by June 2000, I had already lost track of the name of this rose. The rose has always reveled in sunbeams, and I have always reveled in its reveling.

A fully opened apricot rose in a morning sunbeam. Photographed on June 18, 2023.

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A Drying Purple Period

I’m sure you’ve noticed that the weather has been peculiar this year. We went into winter in a drought, but picked up a lot of moisture by early spring. The drought ended. By the beginning of June, it was drying out again, which usually happens in late July or early August. Purple flowers made quite a splash this year, because they had a good start in the spring. Continue reading “A Drying Purple Period”

Mostly Native Spring Ephemera

The previous post dealt with mostly traditional, old-fashioned flowers. This one will cover the native ephemera and Iris cristata, which is native to the US, but not to Michigan, although it thrives here. Oh, yes—and a tiny volunteer rose—I have no idea where it came from. Continue reading “Mostly Native Spring Ephemera”

Is It Spring Yet?

It is, but in early April, the most profuse flowers remain the snowdrops. Squirrels love to rearrange them, but they don’t seem to eat them, and neither do the rabbits, although they did cautiously nibble on one last year.

Snowdrops pop up in unexpected places, like the base of the willow-leaved Amsonia, whose straw forms the backdrop. Photographed on April 1, 2023.

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Winter Flowers and the Promise of Spring

The six weeks from mid-February to the beginning of April are very busy in the yard, but if you are not actively looking for changes, you will probably miss them.

Witch hazel is the first plant to bloom each year, sometime between the end of January and mid-February. It blooms later if early winter is mild than it does if it gets cold early. It seems to need some chill time followed by a few days above freezing in order for the buds to unfurl.

Witch hazel flowers open on warmish winter days—midday is a tiny bit above freezing. Photographed on February 18, 2023.

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The Trouble With Scilla

Scilla seem to be trouble. They spread exuberantly—in the case of Scilla bifolia, only slightly less quickly than measles. I am waiting anxiously to see what Scilla, if any, appear this spring.

Alpine squill, Scilla bifolia, is about 3 inches tall when it blooms. How can such a pretty, teeny-tiny plant be so virulently fecund? The planting bed under the witch hazel has had only a few stray seedlings, but the lawn had a zillion before I went after them with a trowel in April 2022. They are a little unpredictable—some underground portions are short, some are long, and some curve around obstructions.

Scilla bifolia adjusts to all sorts of possibilities underground, including tree roots and my relatively long, slender trowel. Everything below the green portion of each plant was below ground until I unearthed it. Photographed on April 10, 2022.

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Finally, Snow

December toyed with us. Temperatures averaged 2.1° F above normal according to the National Weather Service (NWS), and we had just over half the average snowfall. Snow was predicted for Christmas, which we got, but two days before that, we awoke to temperatures below zero. The windows glittered.

This frost was inside the storm window, fortunately. Photographed on December 23, 2022.

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