There have been at least three springs over the past twenty years that resemble the present spring, when the vegetative world started a month early and has continued to maintain such a schedule. The symptoms have been the same, although this year, 2010 our Spring began according to calendar, in March…. even a week earlier.
Since then, not a day has been over 80 degrees Fahrenheit and there have been no driving dusty winds with dry humidity. We had a good winter for snow depth and cover. There’s been a lot of sun…….cool…..and just enough moisture to start plant growth early.
In my grounds and in other landscape gardens I visit there is more color than usual.
Those plants with showy color are showing their color earlier and longer.
The early flowering perennials and shrubs bloomed the full month earlier. The French lilacs usually flower in the Twin Cities around the last week in May. This year they are already open with all their normal frangrance that goes with them. Forsythia usually is among the first shrub to color here. This year the fragrant viburnums bloomed the same time. Crabapples are peaking now, May 3rd instead of May 22nd. They will be in bloom longer if there are no serious storms or dry windy days of 80 plust temperatures. Sunny cool days, and cool but not freezing nights.
A number of years ago when a volcano in the Philippines erupted, we had spring all spring and summer. There wasn’t any heat at all. My azaleas were in bloom for a month.
In all cases when April was not exceptionally cool, May would be cooler and less sunny…..still a help if colorful gardens were your only care regarding weather and its temperatures.
I notice there are some exceptions….plants who don’t seem to care how beautiful April was for plant growth. My white fringe trees and many of my redbud five and six year old seedlings are only now showing interest in coming to life. Smoke bushes are notorious for their funky attitudes about sending out leaves. Some of the long gawky stalks still look pretty naked, yet some show life. Regardless of their present state of dress, it is likely the shrub will be in full foliage in a week or two.
Black lace Elderberry has beautiful pink clusters when it blooms. But that its blooming is rare in the Twin Cities unless the stems were covered with snow all winter. Apparently the branchings regularly die back to ground level. Do not remover the shrub, thinking it is dead. It is entirely root hardy and will send up new shoots soon, if not already. The new shoots may become six feet long or more. But, alas, they are not likely to bloom.