Though several Japanese maples continue to show minor damage from the ill timed April freezes (below), questions about their long term health have been answered. Most have fully recovered. Leaves that hang limply on damaged maples will soon become brown and fall off without any action taken by the gardener, and there seems little doubt that this event will be quickly forgotten.
Mophead hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) continue to recover, though slowly, and I suspect these will be the last plants in the garden to regain the appearance of full health. Flowers will be delayed for reblooming hydrangeas until this recovery is complete, and older varieties are not likely to flower at all. Oakleaf hydrangeas and paniculata varieties were injured slightly by the freezes, but flowering should not be effected. With these notable exceptions, the garden in early May is at its peak with little other evidence of cold damage. Even the small sections of neglected lawn are green and lush, though without attention this is likely to be a temporary condition until the first extended period of hot weather.
Ground cover perennials planted in recent years continue to thrive, and I look forward to the day when weeding is an easier chore. In fact, open spaces have been few in the garden for years, with tree and shrubs occupying large areas. But, as I become less motivated to undertake routine tasks (older and lazier), I have settled on the idea to cover every inch of ground with one plant or another to completely eliminate labor. I understand this hypothesis might not work precisely as planned, but the plants are filling in splendidly, and every bit of help is welcomed.
Many dozens of seedlings of the dark leafed ‘Espresso’ geranium (Geranium maculatum ‘Espresso’, above) are weeded out, but others are encouraged to grow if they are not encroaching on the space of neighbors. The seedlings of native, wild geraniums are quite sturdy, tolerant of a range of conditions, and vigorous enough to crowd out a Cypress sprurge (Euphorbia cyparissias, below) that is considered overly aggressive. You will note that in two seedlings, side by side, one has markedly darker foliage than the other, which is not unusual with seedlings. Flowers of both are excellent, and foliage persists through the heat of summer. So as long as they land in the right spot, they’re welcome to stay.