May first is the normal time for Leonard Messel or Dr. Merrill Magnolias to begin blooming in my landscape garden. Normal meaning over the past thirty years. Normal meaning this year….despite the relatively miserable Spring….more accurate ……the absent Spring thus far.
Dutch bulbs have done well. At last my Siberian Squill have weeded enough to cover masses of space with the most beautiful blue matching any in the world. For you beginning your landscape garden world, keep note that it does take about ten years for these masses tobecome large enough to make a powerful floral statement….for about a week to ten days. Those with only half day sun bloom a few days behind those in the open.
There will be a down side when the foliage sinesces…in about two or three weeks. Don’t fret and do not cut the foliage back after bloom. Any of these minor….or major …..Dutch bulbs need their greenery after bloom to restore the bulb with energy to produce another display next season. It’s a good time to fertilize with a fertilizer a bit higher ratio in phosporous.
The yellowing Siberian Squill (also called Scilla) foliage will last about a week, often less, but will disappear without your interference. Squill will spread throughout any area in which the soil is exposed and not under water.
Snowdrops are earliest bulb bloomers in my grounds. Winter aconite would show second, but not this year. They were a no show. I have trouble keeping them for any length of time. Perhaps artificial watering is a problem.
Remember all Narcissus are immune from rodent munchings. Unfortunately the color selection isn’t very broad. Hyacinths with their exceptional fragrance aren’t particularly bothered by rabbits in my grounds. Crocus and tulips are another matter.
Some years ago I was planting some crocus at a client’s garden. I had several dozen crocus in an open box on the bed of my pick up truck, which was in sight from where I was planting crocus.
I happened to look up just in time to see two squirrels leaving the truck bed looking very pleased with themselve…..and I immediately guessed why. They had ripped into the webbed bags containing the crocus. About ten of the fifty were gone and some remains were apparent what had happened.
Some seasons I had the viscious purple crocus bloom at the same time as the swaths of scilla…..and exceptional sight, but a few years later the crocus had disappeared.
Puschkinias bloom at the same time as Siberian Squill and Chionodoxa….and they all have been in great display during this past verycold week and are still blooming.
The evergreen groundcover, Pachysandra terminalis, is also in bloom now. In masses one can pick up their sweet fragrance on the warmer spring days…… The dwarf Frittilarias are also blooming.
Most cookie cutter landscapes don’t use many if any of the countless new evergreen varieties on the market these day. As their new foliar buds swell the colors, usually a lighter and sometimes a brighter shade than the more mature foliage, make them appear to be in bloom as well.
So many of this year’s more mature conifers look crappy even if they did survive without severe damage from last winter’s onslaughts. I have lost two Hetz Junipers, one Tendergreen Juniper and one deGroot’s Arborvitae all of which were leveled by the November 13, 2010 wet and heavy 24-30 inch snowfall. Two Woodward Arborvitaes were crushed and one mature Techny broke in half. The storm damaged twenty or more other major plantings…..destroying an Indian Summer crapapple, ripped a major branch off an unknown named pure white blooming cultivar…..and ravaged my White Pine.
Well, there is always tomorrow, if the sun will decide to appear…..and my white rockcress opened up today. What a white. I have four or five beds of this unfailing white flowering groundcover, Arabis caucasica. Last Spring all beds were in bloom for a day short of a month.