Saturday, April 30, 2016

Is it Time to Just Stop Planting Tulips?

After some wild fluctuations in weather, spring has finally arrived (still knocking on wood).  Several of my shrubs were affected by the drastic drop in temperatures we had, and I am still waiting to see how well they recover, but the spring bulbs were mostly insulated by snow.  I was delighted to see that the cold barely slowed them down, and they are now blooming their heads off.

Well, most of them...

My tulips are one of the few flowers that I spray with deer deterrent, but I must not have been as diligent with reapplying as I should have been as almost every single one of my fabulous 'Flair' Tulip flowers have been eaten.

a couple surviving tulips
While daffodils are one of my favorite flowers, and I plant a lot of them as well as other bulbs, there's just nothing like that instant impact that a mere handful of those orangey-red tulips makes.

last year's display of tulips, grape hyacinth, and daffodils
Instead, thanks to the greedy deer, my front garden hellstrips definitely look like they are missing something...

Now imagine this with some wonderfully brilliant orangey-red tulips...
I console myself with many of the fabulous and, more importantly, deer-proof bulbs blooming around the yard.

deer-proof daffodils around the greenhouse
Would any of them be bright enough to take the place of my 'Flair' Tulips?

Narcissus 'Barrett Browning'
Bright daffodils take center stage in other places around the garden, especially when underplanted with contrasting flowers.  While I don't think they make quite as bold a statement as the tulips, at least the flowers are happily nibble-free!

Narcissus 'Intrigue', 'Golden Echo', and others with Grape Hyacinth
I fear my tulip planting days are over.

a mass of Narcissus 'Barrett Browning' and 'Trepolo'
The tulips may come back next year, but either way I think I will need to amend my spring plan for my front hellstrip gardens.  Something more deer proof...

Which sadly definitely rules out tulips.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

How Low Can the Snow Peas Go?

Last week saw several inches of snow here in Massachusetts, in what was (hopefully!) winter's last shenanigans.

I was thankful for the snow, as two days later the temperatures dropped into the teens, and my plants needed some insulation.  In fact, enough snow had melted in between that I had to shovel more snow onto my snow pea seedlings in an effort to save them from the cold.

I was worried about my seedlings.  They are called 'snow peas', but just how much cold can snow peas stand?

Apparently, even without snow cover, snow pea seedlings are just fine in temperatures as low as 28°F (-2°C).  In fact, light frosts, which occur between 28°F and 32°F, are actually beneficial to young plants, stimulating more growth.  When temperatures drop to between 20°F and 28°F (-6°C and -2°C) and there is no snow cover, the seedlings can survive but may be the worse for wear.  (It is interesting to note that mature snow pea plants are not as hardy as young ones.  Older plants suffer much more damage from cold and often die when temperatures hit freezing.)

While snow pea seedlings are remarkably hardy all on their own, give them a little snow and you'd be amazed.  With an insulating blanket of snow cover, young snow peas can survive temperatures as low as 10°F  or even 5°F (-12°C to -15°C)!

I'm happy to report that, thanks to their snowy covering, all my seedlings survived last week's cold.
I guess they don't call them 'snow' peas for nothing!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Little Late for April Fool's, Isn't It?

The past few weeks have been glorious.

most likely Narcissus 'Ice King'
The Glory-of-the-Snow, the Crocus, the Siberian Squill, the Hyacinth, and the early Daffodils have all risen their beautiful blooms in celebration of spring.

I planted one of the front hellstrips full of miniature daffodils.
Siberian squill, planted primarily because I love the fact that its pollen is blue.
miniature Narcissus jonquilla var. henriquesii
But in New England, the weather is ever fickle, and this morning I woke up to this:

Several inches of snow blanket the ground, which is actually rather fortunate as the temperatures are expected to drop into the low teens later this week, and the plants could use the insulation.

Winter had to have a last laugh, didn't it?

I guess I won't be planting those onion sets today...

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