A Lot Can Happen in a Week

We are roughly two weeks behind where we were last year, based on last year’s photographs. Everything I mention in this post was in bloom at this time last year. The weather changes so much from year to year that I cannot tell you which year is closer to normal—or if there is a normal any more.

Weather aside, I love spring ephemera and will search for them doggedly from mid-March on as long as it’s not pouring rain. They are mostly very small, so I have to actually walk away from the window, go outside, and exercise my eyes looking for changes. Changes are rapid, so there is plenty of incentive to go outside frequently.

Dutchman’s breeches, left, and twinleaf , right, erupt from the ground with flower buds. Photographed on April 3, 2022.

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Aprilish Snow Precedes Cold Snap

A couple of people I chatted with on Friday used the “s” word when mentioning this weekend’s weather. My response was “Bite your tongue!” After all, our April snowstorm isn’t due for another week or two.

I was wrong. It snowed yesterday, looking very much like an April snow. It stopped before 10 a.m. It was the sort of snow shower that causes weather people to say “It will stick to the lawns, but not to the sidewalks.” (They do still warn you to be careful driving across bridges and overpasses.)

Snow-capped witch hazel flowers. Photographed on March 26, 2022.

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Signs of Spring and Hungry Rabbits

Looking over the photos on my phone, I begin to understand why I haven’t written much this winter. I have a lot of photographs of my icy sidewalk as I struggled to keep up with it. Several years ago the city required us to replace our sidewalk, and the inspector who came out insisted we lower it. We did. There has been runoff onto our sidewalk after heavy rain ever since, but it was not a problem until last month’s weird storm. The sidewalk was still extremely warm when it hit; I took the last set of icy-sidewalk photographs on February 21, and by the following day it was melted. Finally. All that fretting scraping and chipping gave me a chance to keep an eye on the witch hazel. Continue reading “Signs of Spring and Hungry Rabbits”

The Groundhog Day Slush Storm

Since I had not quite gotten around to posting this although I finished it three weeks ago, I have added datelines so the narrative makes sense.

February 9. Last week was fairly awful weather-wise—following an unpleasantly damp, cold month with very little snow. We got off easy, considering that Monday morning the weather people were saying “3-5 inches of snow,” and by Tuesday morning, it was more like “11-15 inches of snow.” Continue reading “The Groundhog Day Slush Storm”

Echinacea purpurea: a Hive of Activity

Echinacea purpurea is a scruffy-looking plant when it’s not in bloom. It gets interesting when the flower buds start developing. They are very individualistic, and both the flower buds and leaves noodle around while the plants manage to stay stiffly erect.

Echinacea purpurea flowers developing. Photographed on June 25, 2021.

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Three Quick Transplant Stories

Why on earth would I be writing about transplanting in the middle of the dog days of summer? This is not the ideal time to move plants, unless they are irises, but it is the time to note what needs adjusting in the fall. I moved these plants in mid-June. It couldn’t wait any longer, but ideally you want to move plants while they are dormant, preferably in the spring or fall when temperatures are more moderate, and especially when there is a promise of rain—my favorite time to rearrange plants is the day (or morning) before rain is expected. Continue reading “Three Quick Transplant Stories”

Michigan Lilies: Breaking Ground to Dormancy

The Michigan lilies break ground at the very end of April under the redbud, with a lot of company. Last year, the wood phlox had just broken dormancy by the end of the first week of May. This year, the phlox was in full bloom, and the lilies were a little less obvious.

The northern end of the rain garden: the big, oval, chartreuse leaves are bluebells; the lavender flowers are wood phlox; and the sprays of narrow leaves are the Michigan lilies. Photographed on May 6, 2021.

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