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.
That sounds like a regular spring for central Ohio, and yet I understand your frustration. Our frost free date is about two weeks away yet, but we are chomping at the bit to get started. A few warm weather annuals find their way into my shopping cart, then live in the house or garage till it’s safe. I’m not sure I’m even going to be confident when the frost free date passes, it’s still cool and damp. Sigh
Things are slow here in Wisconsin, too. I don’t set out annuals or veggies until around Memorial Day, but usually Daffodils and Tulips are blooming or past blooming by now … and they’re just starting to open up. I think your garden looks very springy and cheery, but I understand that it’s later than usual. Hang in there. The forecast for most of the country is looking more mild for next week. Yay!
Like you, we are transitioning very slowly from winter to spring this year. Today looks like spring, but yesterday we had snow showers in the morning. My daffodils and hyacinth are only green tips above the damp dark earth… no buds, no blooms. It is a slow spring, for sure. Your flowers, color coordinated or not, look LOVELY to me. 🙂
I know your frustration…I planted a bed of squash and after an unexpected ~ unpredicted night of cold I went out to frozen starts. I even had row protector however they didn’t get set up.
What is a gardener to do? Let out a big frustrated sigh and start again, and hope. My respect for farmers, past, present and future increases with each year and each unexpected freeze.
It all looks lovely to me! I’m always glad others don’t view my garden with the same critical eye as The Head Gardener!
suppose to be 29 here tonight. I’ve been blessed with Cedar waxwings this spring and white tulips with a few surprise light orange varieties snuck in. ? Will bring in the water lily is all tonight.
Helen at Toronto Gardens
It all looks pretty wonderful to me. We gardeners need to ignore our inner critic, or just consult with her occasionally, and learn to enjoy our gardens as outsiders do.
Honey, I love seeing your gardens. We’re confused down here, too–thanks for the reminder that this, too, shall pass. XxxxOoooo
Dee, I have been pacing back and forth looking out the back like it will warm up in a minute, I too have seedlings hanging out all over the place. They look exactly like your description “growing boys”. LOL Westlake Hardware is right down the street from me! I love that place (too much). Just wanted you to know I hear you sister, I hear you and feel your pain. Crazy weather! We represent a wonderful group of people who’s hope can’t be canceled by a little cold, in only feeds that hope of things to come. Hang in there. Enjoy your thoughts and giggle a lot when I read them.
Linda, I’m glad I can make you giggle. I also have teenaged plants in the garage. It’s maddening not to plant. I’m now putting my dahlias in pots to get them started. Hang in there. After next Monday things should be better, and we’re getting rain. Hurray!
Lisa at Greenbow
I think your garden looks lovely. It is so frustrating when the weather has such extreme temp swings. I sort of giggled at your idea of planning the bloom time of tulips. It seems it never happens as planned. Try to relax and enjoy the season.
Yeah Lisa, you’re right. After reading an article by Steve Bender interviewing Jimmy Turner at the Dallas Arboretum, I think I’ll just plant late tulips. They get more time to do their thing. Thanks for the sweet words. I am trying to relax, but I’m revving to go.
We went from 15 degrees colder than normal (two weeks ago) into a period of warmer than normal temps, so we are shooting through spring at light speed. The serviceberry trees began blooming on a Sunday and all the petals were on the ground by Thursday. Luckily, the bees were busy, because there is fruit set.
Marian, I heard from Gail that summer had hit the south. It’s always something isn’t it? I’m glad for your fruit. I have apple blossoms, but I think tonight will take care of those. No peaches this year. They were already hit. Oh well.
Your house looks lovely enough to eat. Almost like a scene right out of Hansel and Gretel.
Thanks so much Annie. I appreciate it. It’s an explosion of diverse color. That’s for sure.
The cold is very odd. We rarely (never!) have any cold weather after Easter. Except this year. I had tomato plants out that died in a hard frost. I now have squash planted that my father informed me may die if it gets too cold Friday night (when the cold front is expected to move through here). 🙁 My roses were all in bud, until a hard freeze a few weeks ago. Double 🙁 Well, I guess as gardeners, we all have to be flexible as the weather is something we can’t control. But like you, I did enjoy my tulips for a much longer time than if spring had occurred as it usually does. I love your ‘Pierter de Leur’ tulips! Gorgeous!
Hi Holley, yup, the weather is weird. I love those tulips too. I hope to have them again next year. I thought they would bloom with my purple tulips, but I guess not. Always learning.
You have a lot of beautiful flowers even if they are not exactly what you planned!
Rollercoaster up and down weather here in north Mississippi, too. March was too cold to do much outside. My Wisteria buds froze on March 27. It’s just beginning to recover. And now April is so hot! Today’s high was 84F. Storms predicted for tomorrow will bring cooler weather, but chances of damaging winds.
Thank you Lea. I heard you guys have had a lot of hot weather now. Same thing will probably happen here. Have a beautiful week.
Strange weather Dee, the cooler spring and longer blooming tulips is good, but, not being able to plant your seedlings sounds frustrating. It has been strange here in Middle Tennessee, too. We are having extremes weather~ cold then hot. It’s hard on the spring ephemerals. Today it was 88F and tomorrow night it will be 50! A roller coaster spring.
I have seedlings everywhere Gail. I am chomping at the bit to get out there and plant, but I can’t. Oh well, I’ll write instead. I’m so sorry about your heat.
It all looks really beautiful. All that gorgeous spring color. I do hope you don’t get a frost, hail or tornadoes. It has been the same here too. I pulled my plants in and out so many times and then when finally they were out they were hit by hail and frost. Now it’s the 80s. Such a tough life of the gardener this year. I almost wish it was like the old days when I didn’t dream of planting out until after May23rd. I was never tempted.
That can be easier. Jenny, I hope your weather becomes more consistently good the remainder of spring. 80s is a bit hot.
Well, it all looks pretty gorgeous to me, Dee. I am wondering what a good spring looks like for you. 🙂 Sorry about the prolonged cool weather and hope it warms up soon.
Pam, ha! yes, the perennials look pretty good. I’m just not happy with my fall bulb choices. I’m wondering what I was thinking. Tulips in pots next year. My house is what looks bad. There are plants everywhere, but I’m getting that greenhouse!
We are also having an unusually cold spring. As to the timing of blooms, it seems every year some plants rebel against our careful plans. But then some give us happy surprises.
Jason, I bet you are. The happy surprise here is getting to hang with the tulips longer. 😀
Donna@Gardens Eye View
Your weather resembles mine last April…right now we have warmed the last few weeks although this weekend we will be cold again but for a day or 2…it is interesting how long my early blooms are still alsting and the spring blooms are waiting to bloom.
Weird isn’t it Donna? Oh well, can’t control the weather.