Spring 2019 Garden Update. Where to start? It’s been a strange Spring here in Virginia. We had a lot of precipitation, mostly rain, throughout 2018 and early 2019. I’d say we are running about 2 – 3 weeks later than Spring 2018 as far as garden emergence is concerned. As we are approaching Summer this month, I wanted to post some photos from my garden this Spring.
The first plants to bloom were my crocuses. I had only one crocus flower this year in the front yard clump and three flowers in the backyard clumps. Maybe the squirrels dug up the rest of the bulbs or they were damaged by too much rain.
On the flipside, the daffodils gave us a spectacular show. This year, I brought cut daffodils inside the house to enjoy in vases. The daffodils that used to reside at the front entrance to our property were subject to cutting by The Daffodil and Peony Thief. I dug and divided and moved them to other parts of my landscape within view. No daffodils went missing this year.
My double peach daffodils haven’t performed well over the past five years. I was so excited this year to see a few blooms.
Here’s another daffodil that I just love. It’s yellow and white with a double flower. And it smells heavenly.
Pieris Japonica shrub is always early to bloom with its strong sweet pink bell-shaped blooms. The nandina bushes all had lots of red berries this Winter.
My bleeding hearts jumped up almost overnight. They were full of blooms this year. Bleeding hearts always make me happy as I know that Spring has arrived.
My peonies had very few blooms this Spring. They’re usually super prolific. I had 3 white blooms and 3 pink blooms. Not sure if there was too much precipitation this year and that affected their flowering or maybe not enough sunshine. That subject is on my research list. The Peony Thief was unable to strike this year as I had moved the peony plants away from the main entrance. Yet the established peony plants that haven’t been moved for 15 years or more didn’t have flowers either.
Kerria Japonica which was given to me by a fellow gardener whose gorgeous garden I drove past on my commute to work and finally stopped to meet her one evening…bloomed in early April this year. Always a happy sunny yellow flower that announces Spring.
Right along with the kerria, my columbines always bloom very early. They come back year after year and this set seems to love this pot.
The frogs emerged early at the ponds. There was a huge bullfrog for about a month but I haven’t seen him/her for a while. We now have recently hatched tadpoles in the whiskey barrel pond and the front pond so I expect baby frogs to emerge within a month or so. There are no fish in those two ponds as I set them up to be frog/tadpole habitats.
Toads were everywhere during the first few warm evenings. My dog, Atticus, loves to chase toads. At least he is now old enough to realize that toads don’t taste very good.
Slowly, everything else started to bloom. The wild dogwoods had tons of gorgeous white flowers this year. There was a sharp decline in wild dogwood trees over the past 10 years. Recently, three “baby” wild dogwoods have sprouted and two bloomed this year. My own Cherokee Brave pink dogwoods didn’t fare as nicely. Just few blooms on each of the two remaining trees (the third one didn’t make it due to deer browsing) and clearly I need to fertilize them next year.
The first azaleas to bloom are usually the lavender deciduous azaleas. Since they lose their leaves over the winter, the fat lavender flower buds look interesting in the winter landscape.
The next azaleas to bloom are the solid pink ones, then the white ones, then the red ones. The azaleas had such vivid color this year that they just popped in the landscape.
Possibly the most spectacular of the azaleas is the orange Exbury azalea. Its huge bright orange flowers add a pop of color to an otherwise red/white/pink Spring landscape.
The front climbing hydrangea is doing great with thick lush green foliage. It’s the first plant to signify the arrival of the Japanese beetles which should arrive in a few weeks. Sigh. The delicate white lace cap flowers provide interest in the garden.
My final azaleas to bloom are the Gumpo Pink azaleas. They’re really old, low-growing bushes and were planted when this house was built in the mid-1970s. The Gumpo Pinks are reliable, disease-resistant and have a very nice hot pink flower that makes me smile.
The rhododendrons had a lot of flowers this year but they didn’t last very long due to two harsh rainstorms. This magenta rhododendron along my driveway entrance always gives a lovely show. The pink rhododendrons showed nicely until the rain came and pelted their flowers.
My Kousa dogwood is overflowing with blooms this year to the point that it’s now in more of a “weeping” state than upright. The white blooms are gorgeous at night.
One of my oldest roses, The Fairy, is also blooming right now so all the pinks make the garden happy. The flowers have a lovely fragrance with a slight spicy undertone.
These lovely deep green hostas are beautiful, strong, and have withstood the Attack of the Voles. Two winters ago, voles ate the majority of my 100 hosta plants. I was able to salvage 10 plants in pots and another 5 or 6 survived in the ground. These three hostas have been super resilient and always come back bigger and bigger each year since they appeared 6 years ago. I have no idea where they came from and I didn’t plant them! Last Fall, I dug and divided a few of them and moved them to other parts of my garden.
The patch of day lilies in the above and below photos have not bloomed more than two or three blooms — for years. I know they are not getting enough sunlight. I moved them from the front yard hoping I’d get more blooms in the fenced backyard. Hasn’t happened since the first year they were planted in the back. Also, around mid-June, they will lose their leaves to disease even if I use a fungicide. Strangely resilient, these day lilies are also spreading like wildfire. I don’t have the energy to dig them all up and move them to a sunny non-deer-foraging area. So, I will just enjoy their foliage while it lasts.
In the above photo, some of my salvaged hostas from the Attack of the Voles are growing nicely in pots. I’m not sure whether the voles prefer different hosta varieties to others.
The stately oakleaf hydrangeas will bloom until Fall when they will turn pink and then brown over the winter. Oakleaf hydrangeas provide a lot of winter interest in the garden with their interesting peeling bark. Like a number of hydrangeas, they produce offspring here and there.
An oakleaf viburnum has interesting leaves and a very elegant lacey flower. The leaves are very colorful in the Fall.
My spirea shrubs are just starting to bloom. This one has vivid chartreuse leaves in Spring which become a slightly darker green just before the magenta flowers bloom. The other spirea shrubs have white/pink/magenta flowers and have not started to bloom.
And my “Lady in Red” lace cap hydrangea is starting to bloom. She begins with blue flowers which will turn to a deep burgundy color by Fall. Lady in Red is also very prolific. I have pulled up 20 of her “babies” so far this Spring to be gifted to friends and neighbors.
Some other critters have been seen recently in the landscape. I found an annual cicada that had just emerged and also found its shell. Also a woodland box turtle wandered around our front lawn looking for emerging cicadas. Our favorite black rat snake was peeking out from a boxwood bush and always welcome in my garden. And finally, a five-lined skink blinked at me and smiled while I took its photo.
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WHAT’S HAPPENING IN YOUR GARDEN? Were your plants early or late to bloom this year? Or were they on time for your area? Leave a comment and let us know!