It’s been very dry this Spring of our Minnesota northland. It also has been warmer than usual, thank God! Yes, Winter in Gopherland….which should be called Rabbitland, was colder and longer when I was four years old back in 1938, the first year I discovered “garden”.
Minnesotans, at least we urban ones, had tons of close friends and relatives who had to be visited including many owning a family farm. I loved visiting family and friends from the very beginning. It was a helluva lot better than watching television folks! People especially cared for family, regardless how large. No life insurance. Death was not uncommon. Cancer had taken two grandparents before I was born. By 1947 an aunt, an uncle, the two remaining grandparents, and a cousin, who died from leukemia also were gone.
We lived in the city. Everyone we knew among family, friends, and neighbors were Godfearing, preferring to follow the JudeoChristian rules of goodness over marijuana, amass knowledge over feelings, be civil rather than savage. We knew our neighbors, about sixty or more, very, very well.
We Americans, in those days, were expected to grow up! We were outdoor people….and lived rather closely together. Our city lots were 45′ by 100′, which included a single car garage in the back yard.
Everyone, every grounds had a flower garden and a vegetable garden….Apple and plum trees were extra, and we kids were known to have stolen a number of units during season. No noises came from motorized tools in those days. Lawn mowers were borrowed from time to time when emergency called. Knowing about 20 neighbors’ telephone numbers by heart was about average then until television arrived about 1947.
Raising a lovely city gardened yard was a sign folks who lived in the neighborhood were civilized and learned. A well maintained lawn and properly pruned spreading conifers along the front foundation of the house were proof neat neighbors lived there. The neighborhood was clean, well manicured, and in Spring, always displayed tulips, narcissus, hyacinths, crocus, and scilla in the side or backyard garden, if only sometimes to coax the eye away from the vegetable garden if not perfectly manicured.
Because of that past, today I still live in paradise, but it’s a lonely place these days. No one seems to be aware of their nearby outdoors, here where I live and, in general throughout the metropolitan area….and generally the grounds show it.
We are having an early Spring season this 2017 year. Last year there was a 4″ snow fall this week which slowed Spring life up for nearly a month. The spring bulbs came and went within a week.
Already scilla, snowdrops, puschkinia, crocus, chionodoxa have opened up for display on my grounds. Narcissus, that is, daffodils are already displaying foliage. They’ll begin flowering in a week.
If the weather stays cool, most of these bulbs will remain in bloom for a couple of weeks. Remember the rabbits. They love crocus and tulips, don’t seem to know what Puschkinia, Chionodoxa and Snowdrops are…..and hate Narcissus.
It’s the heat of the location of planting that dictates the length of bloom in general.
Bulbs aren’t the only easy to oblige Spring plants in our area. I have hundreds of Bloodroot and Virginia Bluebells now greening up for bloom next week or so, depending on the heat of the days.
But I have never planted Bloodroot or Virginia Bluebells on my grounds. I am presuming birds did. Since most of my acre grounds is lawnless, I now have hundreds of clumps of both….I toss these Bluebells when they invade beyond their spaces. If they are kept hugging each other, their spring blue is truly exceptional….with no worry at all. By early June your Bluebells will disappear from life for another year. Last year Bloodroot was in bloom about three days in May….for it was a warm Spring and rather late. Yesterday, I saw a clump of it in full bloom on the South side of my garage….a first, for it must have seeded itself over the past year. You will not find a wildflower as neat as Bloodroot. I let it grow where ever it wants to live…..usually in some shade and often understory to large wide spreading shrubs.
Notes: Nearly any flowering perennial, woody or not, marked as shade-loving here in Gopherland can survive beautifully in full morning Sun. It’s the rising heat of the afternoon hours that usually causes trouble
The bulbs mentioned above lose their foliage by mid-June. They appear for sale on the market around Labor Day here in Minnesota for Fall planting.