Our high yesterday was 51 degrees F, and we are supposed to get another morning freeze by Friday. Then, more cool temperatures with extreme lows for late spring. Normal average temperatures for mid-April are: High–71.9° Low–48.8°. Today’s forecast is ominous. A dry line is setting up in the middle of the state which means storms with hail and possibly, tornadoes. As an Oklahoma gardener, spring storms I understand. The unseasonable cold I don’t.
I am perplexed.
I know the average last frost date for much of Oklahoma is April 20, but we haven’t had it run that late since 2009. I have my row covers in the garage standing at the ready in case I need them yet again. I hope I don’t.
The garden is confused too. All of the tulips are blooming together which wasn’t how I planned things when choosing colors. There a juxtaposition of reds and pinks. There are supposed to also be dark purples in there, but I don’t see any so far.
Further, the tulips do not contrast nicely with the pink daffs. I should know better. This is why daffs with pink cups were moved to a spot by themselves before. They start out a shade of pink with peachy undertones and then fade to shades of apricot. With blue-pink and blue-red tulips, the daffs are not at all what I wanted. ‘Prinses Irene’ tulips were supposed to help with this, but they are blooming down in the foliage due to a less-than-cold winter. Late tulips are blooming with the earlies. I think I’ll just plant late tulips from now on. The longer growing period gives them a chance to develop swan-like stems. I wanted the pink ones to bloom after the reds were finished. In my opinion, it’s all a mess, but what’s a gardener to do?
The back garden is better. It is united by blue and purple Phlox divaricata highlighted by narcissus with only a few perennial tulips that have returned on the own, but sparsely. I’m sure I water too much for the tulips, but it’s not that big a deal. The couple of tropical plants I set out early–don’t do as I did–suffered in spite of covering, but are still living. I must only replace two Iresine herbstii (chicken gizzard plant) I didn’t cover. I bought these at Westlake Hardware on Danforth in Edmond. The same Westlake has woodland phlox in its butterfly mixture. They are in lavender pots. You’ll need to look for it.
Meanwhile, my house and garage are stuffed full of plants. The baby seeds I planted early, because they need to be in the ground about now, are hanging out about the windows like surly teenagers waiting for their dates.
Like growing boys, all of the plants shout for food and water. I left for one weekend and came back to very thirsty plants. I used some of Annie Haven ‘s manure tea to fix them up. They still need more light, and while I’m doing my best, clearly, I’m not making them happy. I told you they were teenagers.
Because it’s spring, I’ve been visiting my favorite nurseries and box stores and stockpiling things I don’t think will be available later. These have joined two staggered seed plantings. I expected to set out the earlier plants, and I’d already hardened them off. Now, they are back inside along with the second group. You probably won’t believe this, but I have a third wave of different plants ready to go.
I am obsessed.
I’m also frustrated, but I know this too shall pass. The weather will get warmer, and in the meantime, the spring garden thinks it’s in England. It is responding with abundant growth, and the tulips are blooming longer. In every season, and every type of weather, there is something for which to be grateful. Hang in there, and keep your tender tropicals in the house for now.