Wednesday, April 30, 2014

When the Best Laid Plans Don't Account for Snow Plows

It's the end of April, and the bulbs are in full bloom at last, woohoo!

Finally at the end of April my daffodils are in bloom
Even though it is still rather chilly outside, there are so many blooms out there in the garden that it warms this gardener's heart!  Honestly, though, I was really quite surprised to see so many different blooms at one time...

Tulip 'Flair' and Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation'
You see, last summer after I had moved and was between gardens, I did what any such gardener would do:  I meticulously planned what I was going to put in my new garden.  While waiting to close on our house, I poured over catalogues, made lists of what flowers would bloom when, and lived off the dream of a grand succession of blooms that would stretch throughout as much of the year as possible!

Grape Hyacinth labeled bloom time: Early/Mid Spring
For my fall bulb planting I ordered a variety of bulbs that had different bloom times, starting with the earliest possible blooming ones.  In North Carolina, I had had daffodils blooming in January, so surely, I thought, something would be blooming by March in Massachusetts, right?

Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' labeled bloom time: Winter/Early Spring
Well, maybe they would have... 
except I didn't take into account was where all the snow gets put in the winter up here in the North.  Snow plows and the snowblower pile all the extra snow from the roads right next to the street and driveway, and guess where I planted all my early bulbs?

Narcissus 'Jetfire' labeled bloom time: Early/Mid Spring
Planted in the mailbox garden next to the road
Needless to say, in March, instead of beds full of early blooming daffodils, what I had were huge piles of snow left from all the snow plows.  And those huge piles of snow took a veeeerrrry loooonng time to melt!

Tulip 'Flare' labeled bloom time: Early/Mid Spring
But now finally in April the snow piles have all melted and my bulbs have come up.  I am so delighted to see all the flowers after the long winter -  however, I am rather surprised that, instead of the grand succession of different blooms that I planned...
my early bulbs and my later bulbs are up and blooming all at once!   

Narcissus 'Rijnveld's Early Sensation' labeled bloom time: Winter/Early Spring.
Narcissus 'Golden Echo' labeled bloom time: Mid Spring.
So much for the six different successive waves of blooms that I planned.  For once in my life I get uncharacteristically organized, make lists and plan things, but it's still blooming chaos in the garden anyway!

Narcissus 'Thalia' labeled bloom time: Mid/Late Spring
The piles of snow delayed the early bulbs so much that I now have bulbs that were supposed to start blooming in Winter flowering at the same time as bulbs labeled Mid to Late Spring.  Ah, the best laid plans!

Don't these plants know that they are supposed to bloom in an order?!
Well I have now learned my first lesson as a Northern gardener - note to self: consider snow management when planning the garden! 

Though I do think that gardens are always variable and full of surprises no matter how much planning we do.  We as gardeners just usually do our best to roll with the flow and manage the chaos - then we get to enjoy the beauty of our efforts, no matter what is blooming when!  

Hyacinth labeled bloom time: Early/Mid Spring
Aren't these beautiful? 
Next year, though, I think I shall plant some early bulbs a little further away from the road.


Happy Spring to all you gardeners out there!

33 comments:

  1. Happy Spring! I've found over the years that placement in a northern garden makes a huge difference in bloom time. I have a bunch of early spring-blooming bulbs facing south next to the house that bloom before everything else. And while Bloodroot is blooming and past blooming in several gardens in my area, mine hasn't even emerged yet because it's covered with leaves on a north-facing slope. Microclimates are fascinating, aren't they. Your blooms are scrumptious! I adore 'Jetfire'!

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    1. Microclimates are quite fascinating! This one especially came to my attention since I was so impatient for something to start blooming after the winter :) It does look beautiful now, though!

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  2. Hooray for spring bulbs! Glad you've finally got some! The same type of bulbs that are planted out front of my house (north-side) are a good 3 weeks behind my south-facing back flowerbed. So I guess that's how I get my blooming succession. Not really great planning, just the difference between where they're planted.:) Hey, at least they all look great together. No unexpected clashing colors!

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    1. Nothing is clashing right next to each other, at least! And I do love a mix of daffodils, so it works out anyway. My front garden is South facing, so I'm thinking next year I should be able to get some bulbs blooming in March - providing I plant them away from the road! :)

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  3. Indie, if it's any consolation, I had the same thing happen in North Carolina this winter. All the early blooming stuff was late, and the late blooming stuff was on time. All of which goes to show - don't even try to beat Mother Nature. It ain't happening. And there are those who would argue that a huge burst of flowers at one time is better show than a trickle over time.

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    1. I did hear that you guys got a surprising amount of snow and cold weather this past winter! And I do agree - it probably does look better with all the flowers blooming en masse!

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  4. There is always something to learn in the garden :) I love your tulips, and your burst of blooms is beautiful!

    I have had the worst luck with tulips. I planted some 2 falls ago, and they have come up each spring, but never bloomed. I finally dug up the bulbs this weekend, and moved them to a sunnier and warmer spot. Maybe that will help.

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    1. I'm not quite sure why I keep trying to plant tulips, as the critters usually eat them. I was rather surprised that some actually made it to bloom for me! I hope your tulips will be happier with more sun and bloom for you!

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  5. Not a complete failure then, actually, sort of a benefit really. You have moved further north where its colder and we have moved south where its warmer. The move here has been very stressful, hope you have found it less so. take care Alistair

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    1. I know you were in quite a cold climate - I hope you grow to enjoy the warmer weather where you are now! Moving is so stressful between dealing with housing and logistics and then getting used to a new place. I still do miss where I used to live quite a lot, but we are settling in now. I hope things start going easier for you!

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  6. On the bright side, having all these blooms at once certainly makes for a colorful display--lovely! I do feel for you, Indie; at least the snowplows didn't spray salt all over this area and kill everything in it. I'm still fuming over the fact my husband decided to dump a load of snow on one of my garden beds, complete with some gravel he picked up from the driveway--I'm not sure one of my roses is going to recover:(

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    1. Oh no! I hope your poor roses recover! Thankfully the only damage I got was to a shrub that my kids kept walking on since it was buried by snow and broke some branches off. I need to mark my garden beds better apparently!

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  7. Hi Indie
    I smiled all the way through this post. Gardeners are always learning.
    Reminds of when we moved into this house, I too planted many many bulbs in my front yard garden. In the spring, I waited and waited for them to come up but nothing. What had happened? I hadn't taken into account that the whole yard slopes downhill from the house. My poor bulbs had drowned in all the melted snow and spring thaw waters. :(
    Now I always make sure bulbs are planted on relatively high ground. And you have learned to plant away from snow piles. See? We learn.

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    1. On no, that's too bad! I did that the first year I planted alliums. I planted them in a wet spot, and the alliums all rotted to nothing. At least mine came up this year! It's so sad when they don't even come up at all. I once planted at least a 100 crocus around an old stump at my old house with grand visions of tons of blooming crocus. I realize now that that stump was marking the territory of a family of voles - they dined well that winter, and I think only one crocus came up out of so many! There's always something to learn in the garden, that's for sure!

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  8. Happy to see that the rabbit didn't eat all the flowers. I really like your Narcissus 'Jetfire' . Our daffodils have long finished flowering.

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    1. Thank you, they are so cute! I was impressed with how many tulips managed to overcome the rabbit nibbles. Ever since then I've been spraying the tulips to keep the bunnies away, and many of them have bloomed still quite nicely.

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  9. Indie - I don't envy you having to pick up and move every few years and learn gardening all over again in a different zone. It's always disappointing when our best laid plans blow up on us. Your tulips and daffodils are pretty, anyway!

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    1. Well hopefully this will be the last move for a long time! (I know I said that last time, but this time I mean it!) At least it is fun to grow some of the things that struggled in the heat of North Carolina. My lilacs are forming buds, and my rhubarb is waiting to be planted!

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  10. I learned the same lesson and plant very early bulbs up near the house where I can see them in March once snow melts in certain areas. But up North we seem to have a lot of plants that don't follow the rules and bloom at once instead with the short season...and with the cold we will have more if it ever gets warm again. Love the spring display of blooms.

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    1. I guess the blooming season is compressed up here (much like the beach season!) It is nice to have such an exuberance of blooms all at once, though!

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  11. Ha! Ha! Isn't gardening fun? Your bulbs are a wonderful sight, even if they were not supposed to bloom all at once. We had something similar here this year because winter lasted so long. It did make for a glorious spring when it finally arrived!

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    1. It did make the spring even more glorious! It's hard to stay inside now!

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    1. Thank you! Spring is such a great season, and it's been such a long winter here this year that we are enjoying it immensely!

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  13. Your spring bulbs are a lovely sight, no matter how you originally had planned them :-)
    Over here we are all finished with spring so it is a long time since I have seen a hyacinth or a daffodil in my garden. You know, gardening in London is so different from what I was used to from Norway, where I am from, where it is even colder than where you are, I lived in zone 3! We used to shovel snow in our garden twice. Once when it snowed, and then again in the spring, after it had started to thaw, to spread it out where the piles were highest. Perhaps something to think about next March or so for you, depending on how early or late spring is. It helps a lot if you simply take half the snow in your flower beds and throw it on the side of your road or path, where it will melt quicker and not be in the way. The flower beds will be cleared quicker and the flowers come up sooner. Don’t clear off all the snow, or you might damage new shoots, and also, new frost might come so the plants need that protection from the snow still. Just give spring a little help :-)

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    1. Oh that's a good idea! I'll have to try that next spring! I'm glad I'm not gardening in THAT cold of a zone - I feel for gardeners who are up in the even more colder climates.

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  14. Your tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths are stunning! Happy Spring! Glad the bad Easter bunny didn't eat them all!

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    1. Thank you! I was glad to see that quite a good number of tulips managed to grow despite the Easter bunny coming through. They look so pretty!

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  15. Don't you just love Spring! Love your blooms.

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    1. Oh I do! I can never decide which season I like best, spring or fall. I enjoy both of them so much!

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  16. That was OK though because it is sure pretty. That snow is very nourishing too. Here, much is blooming at once too. The frozen earth finally thawed and everybody said. "Let's bloom".

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    1. It's so nice seeing all the blooms up after the winter. It probably looks even nicer with them all up at once!

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  17. I love love your Hyacinths. I've spent a year drooling over gorgeous spring bulbs in bloom. I switched homes and gardens recently and have nothing awaiting me in Spring -- YET! Thanks for sharing

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