A glorious spring

Each spring is unique, but to comment that one weather phenomena or another has never happened before is rarely correct. The gardener should not get too worked up about late freezes or fluctuations from frost to ninety degrees within a week. This year, late winter drought was followed in mid spring by weeks of heavy rain alternating with summer heat, and through it all, the garden is as good as ever, probably at its best, though I could be guilty of saying that every year.

Japanese iris at the margins of the koi pond begin to flower in late May, with one variety after the other blooming for a month.

Short of catastrophic damage by tornado, flood, or earthquake, the garden is more resilient than the gardener expects. This is not the first time that frost and freeze have arrived late in April, and the gardener should barely be surprised if ninety degree temperatures arrive to meet the magnolias blooming in March. Parched ground or floods are to be expected, perhaps on alternating weeks. No matter how the gardener whines that this month or that has never been worse, it has.

This cold hardy terrestrial orchid (Bletilla striata) has spread steadily, and flowers persist for several weeks through May and early June.

An ill timed freeze in March damaged blooms of magnolias and early flowering cherries, but several weeks later the gardener was consoled by mild temperatures and extended blooming of redbuds and dogwoods. One thing after another, the gardener is beset by inconveniences, but the garden muddles through. One week he moans that spring has been ruined, but the next Carolina silverbells are blooming, and soon, miseries are long forgotten.

Indian pinks (Spigelia marilandica) are beginning to flower. I’ve transplanted several of this clumping perennials around to find a suitable exposure, and a few vigorous clumps have justified the move into a bit more sun.

At the start of June there is little doubt that the garden’s peak will be short lived. Soon, summer heat will take its toll, particularly in a garden without irrigation. Plants will survive, but the luster of spring will be lost in the heat.

Happily, this clump of milkweed has spread this spring. It remains a bit difficult to get to, so no Monarchs, though there are abundant swallowtails throughout the garden.