March is defnitely the cruelest month. I never heard the phrase “mud season” until I moved to upstate New York 20 years ago, but March is it, mud season. Of course, April is no cakewalk, either. I can usually count on there being snow on the ground in Saratoga Springs into April.
But most of this March was as mild as May, and the plants have been reacting, doing things disturbingly early. This threatens all kinds of celebrations, both public and private. Elizabeth just posted about Buffalo’s Dyngus Day celebration being upset by too-early catkins on the pussy willows. (Next year, I’ll skip Garden Walk and beg an invitation to Dyngus Day, which apparently includes a parade, as well as much Buffalo-style imbibing.)
Me, I live for my spring bulbs, but the earliest ones, the species irises and species crocuses, went by too fast in the heat. If the tulips were just to bloom for a week and then have done with it…I would be very sad indeed. ‘Purple Prince’ tulips, a full month early
It was so mild that the even the excellent British science magazine NewScientist has noticed our weather and dubbed it “summer in March.” NewScientist suggests that warming water in the Gulf of Mexico may be to blame for the March heatwave in the Northeast.
It was nice while it lasted, but this week things are more normal, with temperatures dipping to 25 degrees at night and gloves required even in the daytime. Of course, once you’ve taken those gloves off, it’s hard to put them back on! You’d rather just risk a little chapping and bleeding. The plants around here all feel the same way. We count on this tree
The most magnificent piece of borrowed landscape in my neighborhood is a huge Magnolia soulangeana in front of a Queen Anne mansion. I was unhappy this week to see that many of its fat buds are brown and dried-out looking from frost damage.
In my own yard, the little magnolia I stuck into the shadiest corner in the place is sensibly sulking and waiting until the sun gets higher in the sky to bloom. My peach trees also, in the warmest and sunniest possible spot on my hell strip, are waiting for more certain conditions to bloom.
But this apricot has totally lost its head:
I don’t know that I’ll ever get fruit off of such an impulsive tree.