Bursting into bloom – March 29

Temperatures have remained chilly through last week, but a few more daffodils are opening and the magnolias have given up waiting for warm days and decided to bloom regardless. p1010969On average Redbuds should begin to flower this week, but I doubt that will happen for another week (the picture below shows the swollen redbud flower buds).p1010992

The Okame cherry is almost past bloom now, but the buds of the weeping pink cherry aren’t close to opening. I see on television that the Tidal Basin cherries are flowering now, but thirty miles west we’re at least a week behind. Meadows Farms planted a couple hundred cherries at the Tidal Basin almost thirty years ago, and I often think about going there to see if I can recall any that I planted. But I hear about the traffic, and it doesn’t seem such a grand idea.

Purpleleaf plum have been in bloom in the neighborhoods out my way for a week or so. I don’t have one in my garden because they are a Japanese beetle magnet that practically require spraying, and I try to avoid poisons as much as possible. However, they are a lovely tree.

Also in bloom for the past week or two are the Callery pears, Bradford being the most well known but also the most reviled for its tendency to split in windstorms. The Callery pears have many fine attributes, fast growth, a tidy upright oval shape, long lasting Spring blossoms, and outstanding Fall color, but have fallen into disfavor as an invasive. I may quibble with some plants called invasive, but look at any untended fence row and you’ll see white blooming pears.

With warmer weather ahead the flowers of magnolias, cherries, redbuds, and dogwoods are likely to overlap, which is not how it’s supposed to work, but isn’t all that unusual. Though the period of Spring blossoms will be condensed it will be all the more delightful.

p1010978The race in my garden for first magnolia to bloom was won by Dr. Merrill, who was undoubtedly proud. Following very closely by mere hours was the Royal Star (below). The blooms are quite similar, though Royal Star has more numerous and narrower tepals.

p1010975

Just a week ago the buds of Jane magnolia began to show a bit of color while the others were tight in bud, but today Jane has made little progress, and will not be in full flower for several days.p1010988

In past weeks I have noted attractive leaf buds opening, and today the Bottlebrush Buckeye (above) caught my eye. There are many wonders beyond flowers in the garden.p10109821

Squirrels forced me to give up on tulips years ago, as they delight in digging the bulbs for food. Several held on for a few years, but I am much too lazy to dig and store bulbs, or to replant every year, so I have only daffodils, hyacinths (in bloom today, above), and some minor bulbs, including Chionodoxa, Glory of the Snow (below).p1010965

Temperatures in the sixties might get the blooming schedule back on course over the next week. April will be a glorious month.

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3 thoughts on “Bursting into bloom – March 29

  1. Lovely to come upon your site after a bike ride through the cherry blossoms last night. I have what might be a strange question – am trying to schedule a group photo event in front of a huge, spectacular dogwood in our neighborhood…running into the expected scheduling difficulties and wondering if you can give me an expert’s guess on likely blooming period – do you think May 9 will be too late?

  2. I think that by May 9 the last vestiges of bloom may linger, but it won’t be at its best. I expect that unless temperatures skyrocket dogwoods will begin bloom the week of April 26 and peak will be five or six days later. The duration of bloom is usually only two weeks. Obviously, I don’t have a crystal ball, but I think this should be a good timeline.
    Dave

  3. OK – maybe we’ll aim for the first weekend in May. Thanks, by the way, for whatever trees you planted at the basin – it was gorgeous last night. And if you happen to find yourself in DC during dogwood blooming, the beautiful tree I’m talking about is in the Brookland neighborhood of NE DC, across 14th street from the Franciscan Monestary, whose gardens are open to the public

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