Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Autre temps, autre fleurs


Different years, different flowers. Some, like the paperwhite narcissus, which don't need cooling, flower at about the same time each year (Jan through Feb).

Others are very variable in when they flower, especially the flowering fruit trees, which have cooling requirements, like the earliest here, the flowering plums.

The winter iris, Iris unguicularis, flowers for about 2 months, sometime between November and April. It provides enough blooms to cut a few for a vase every few days - except this year the deer (probably) have discovered it, I have to get there before they do.

We usually but not always have several weeks of warm weather with cool nights in Jan & Feb. The years we don't things are off schedule.

This year we had snow in mid-Nov 2010, very early. Leaves still on the trees, lots of broken branches and fallen trees. I lost the vertical top to the oak west of the house, the one that might have shaded the house in late summer someday. On my south slope I usually don't see the first few frosts to take the leaves off & ripen the fruit of the persimmon until Thanksgiving. (Other microclimates are quite different - Grandpa knew where to build a house.)

Planting weather (like for lawn seed) is usually between mid-April and mid-Oct. One year that I was doing spray-dyeing out in the yard, we had warm weather until the end of October. (I'm not sure if that was the year it snowed on Nov 2 or not. I think so.)

It almost always snows in March and early April. The first year I was here, the April Fools day storm dumped about a foot and a half of snow. The year my sister died in March, after I got back here, all of April it was cold, snow, hail, freezing rain. Things were a month late blooming. Apple trees were blooming in mid-May.

I'm planning to do a five-year gardening/weather calendar, with pictures of what's in bloom each week in several years, and places to write temperatures and notes for each year.

This photo was taken in 2006 on March 9, but this year the flowering plums are almost done Feb 23, the leaves are emerging. Last Thursday it snowed enough to close campus; we've just had several partly sunny days with snow on the ground, in the next few days it's supposed to snow 1-2 ft above 2000 ft. It probably won't look like this. 

PS April 14 This year, starting Feb 17th, it snowed almost every Thursday/Friday all the way through March. The one week it didn't snow, it rained. The power went out for days the week I posted this. The first warm weekend was April Fool's week, warm and sunny enough to go for a wildflower walk at Bridgeport.

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