A fit of enthusiasm

In a fit of enthusiasm (or desperation) through one of the darkest, coldest parts of winter, I ordered more than I should have from several online plant vendors. I am certain that these will be fine plants, and no doubt I will find a home for them all, but at the moment I haven’t a clue what I ordered for early April delivery.

I really should figure a better method to determine what has been ordered rather than just opening the box to see what pops out, but it seems that is how this will be settled. I expect that each vendor offered the option to create an account so that the purchaser can check back on his order, but of course I did no such thing. Now, I accept full responsibility for this failure, but despite my confusion I have no remorse for making the purchases, and the mystery is a bit intriguing.

Crocus  are slow to get started this spring - but it won't be long

Crocus are slow to get started this spring – but it won’t be long

With the cold and snow a distant memory (from last week), warmer temperatures have the juices starting to percolate again, and I feel an anxiousness to get started. A walk around the garden this evening sparked a wee bit of excitement at the prospect of pruning back the Blue mist shrubs this weekend, and several of the roses have grown too leggy, so these must be pruned back and older canes that have not been cut out for several years must be addressed.

That I am at all enthused by spring clean up chores signals the despair of this gardener as winter dragged out far too long and cold. I fully realize that there is a limited period to accomplish too many tasks before the warmth of April spurs redbuds and dogwoods into bloom, but also perennials that must be cut back before they launch their spring growth.

Buds of pieris are swelling by the day in mid March

Buds of pieris are swelling by the day in mid March

Today, there are several hellebores and a few small yellow leafed nandinas (Nandina domestica ‘Lemon Lime’) on the driveway, waiting to be planted. Two red flowered Encore azaleas (Azalea ‘Autumn Fire’) have been delivered, and these must be brought home to plant when I can figure a spot for them. These are azaleas to be introduced a year from now, offered for my evaluation. It’s evident that the ones that were sent were overwintered in a greenhouse for winter protection since they are approaching full bloom in mid March.

Rather than being disturbed that the azaleas’ early flowers and bright green new foliage might be damaged, after the recent horrid weather I’m overjoyed to see a few flowers beyond only the garden’s witch hazels and snowdrops. Without any severe cold in the forecast, I doubt there will be any detriment from the early blooms, so why be bothered because they should not flower here for another six weeks?

The fragrance of sweetbox should scent the upper garden in another week

The fragrance of sweetbox should scent the upper garden in another week

Winter jasmine is a week off from beginning to flower, and many years its first blooms are seen by mid January. I’ve checked for flowers too many times to count over the past month. My enthusiasm got the better of me recently when I predicted that hellebores would flower two days after the snow melted. Several have been exposed to warmer temperatures for three or four days now, and the blooms are still another few days off.

Besides the mysterious mail ordered plants, and the hellebores, nandinas, and azaleas that will soon be planted, I plan to invest in a few daphnes in the next few weeks. Though these are considered to be finicky, I’ve experienced few problems with any of four or five varieties, and shortly several new ones will be arriving in the garden center. Certainly, my enthusiasm will spur several additional purchases this spring, but today, a few days before the first shovel full of mud has been turned, this seems an excellent plan to get the spring started.

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