The Greening of Spring and Foreshadowing of Summer

April is the greening month. The earliest spring plants, which came up with not a trace of green, such as rue anemone and twinleaf, turn green. Other plants, such as crested iris and Pennsylvania sedge do most of their growing in these few weeks.

The ribbon-like Tulipa tarda leaves frame a very grassy Pennsylvania sedge with flower buds; it blooms in mid- to late April. Its flowers will not be not exciting, however. Photographed on April 4, 2024.

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Red Flag Warning and 83°F on May 1!

I mentioned that I thought it was rather dry in my previous post. I was quite surprised when I checked the weather Monday night and discovered a weather alert—a red flag warning. I have several cities listed in my weather app, so I thought I must have somehow switched to Arizona. No! Not Arizona—it was my hometown, as well as the rest of southeastern Michigan. Due to high winds, extremely low humidity, and high temperatures, there was a serious risk of fire starting and then spreading very easily. A red flag warning means no outdoor burning.

I watered the hostas that I had rescued and replanted when I removed the Scilla bifolia ‘Rosea.’

Meanwhile, my magnolia has bloomed. The house, partially in deep shade in this photograph, was such a distraction that I photoshopped it into a uniform blur. These flowers really were dancing in the sun.

A photoshopped image of 4 flowers; the flowers were unretouched, but the background was blurred to uniformity
Magnolia stellata ‘Leonard Messel.’ Photographed on May 1, 2018. The background was photoshopped since most of the house was in deep shade.

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Rain Garden Planted in the Nick of Time

A week ago Saturday, on May 20, I helped sort plants purchased through the Washtenaw County Water Resources Office by people who were putting together rain gardens—like me. The advantage of helping out was that I got to take my order home that day instead of the following one—one more day to plant!

I planted them Sunday. I had done a partial planting last fall, so the plants I picked up just about completed the garden, with the last pieces coming from transplants from other spots in the yard.

The Rain Garden

We had better start with a schematic. You cannot see from one end to the other due to the redbud, so this will keep you oriented.

Site plan showing rain garden layout in relation to front of house, sidewalk, and road.
The rain garden, as planted in 2016–2017. The rough brown lines represent exposed tree roots. There are three green circles with perhaps too-tiny numbers in them; from left to right, they are (1) Rosa setigera, (2) Clethra alnifolia, and (3) Cercis canadensis. Adobe Illustrator file updated May 27, 2017.

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…and Snow in March

So why am I relieved? We had about 5 ½ inches of snow yesterday, which will protect the plants from the worst of the temperature swings. The bulb part of hardy spring bulbs will survive anything that erratic late winter weather can inflict on them (so far). The flowers may fizzle and sometimes the foliage looks roughed up, but the plants are fine the following year.

Daffodils, finally protected by snow.

The tips of the daffodils are mostly what’s visible today, although there are some leaf tips of dwarf irises poking out here and there. What else is under that snow? Continue reading “…and Snow in March”