Jack Frost Exceedingly Bad Day

Yesterday we had snow, then rain, then ice and then snow again.  When I woke this morning it was a frigid 26 degrees.

You’d think I’d be used to spring snow.  I’ve lived in southern New England all my life where the weather is anything but predictable.

I’m not.

Every time Jack Frost lays waste to the landscape I’m surprised.  Yesterday Jack was having an exceedingly bad day.

While the pictures below show plants at their worst I assure you they’ll be fine.  In a few day they’ll look as good as when it was in the sixties last week.

Hellebore (Helleborus sp.) sent to Hell
Hellebore (Helleborus sp.) thrives in weather like this. In a few days you won’t know the plant was under half an inch of ice and snow.
Japanese Cornel Dogwood (Cornus officinalis) on Ice
Can you can see the layer of ice on this Japanese Cornel Dogwood (Cornus officinalis)?
Pansy (Viola sp.) Covered in Ice
This pansy is in for a rough couple weeks. Most of the foliage will turn brown and die.  Growth deep inside the plant will survive.  It’s going to take time.  I should have brought the plant inside BEFORE the cold weather arrived.
Daffodils (Narcissus sp.) Laid to Waste
These poor Daffodils (Narcissus sp.) were laid out on the lawn. I can’t say the flowers will look as good as they did before the snow. However, they will right themselves and shine again in a few days.
Mr. Science Guy how does water run and freeze at the same time?
Icy on the Outside Warm on the Inside
The first thing I did this morning was get wood to build a fire. The twine holding the tarp is surrounded by thick ice.

What’s the weather like where you live?

Spring Begins in Fall

This morning as I waited for the school bus I noticed my daffodils emerging.  It’s been a mild fall and they’re just poking through the soil.

Sedum Buttons
New growth on Sedum called buttons.

Plants set bud in the fall so they’re ready to go when the warm weather arrives.

German Iris
The old foliage on my Iris died back leaving miniature Iris plants. The new growth won’t look this good in the spring after repeated freeze thaw cycles.
Lenten Rose Flower Buds
Flower buds on my Lenten Rose (Helleboris sp.) are ready to go. Lenten Rose blooms in April often while snow is still on the ground.

Don’t think your plants are the only thing growing in the garden.  There’s a class of weeds called winter annuals that germinate in the fall.  Now is a great time to pull them.

Chickweed is one of the most ubiquitous winter annuals. Chickweed is remarkably easy to control if you get it while young.

If the weather stays mild take advantage and do some weeding.  It’ll make a huge difference in the spring.



Late Season Blooming Flowers

Last Monday, November 16th I was cutting back perennials in Trumbull, Connecticut in USDA Hardiness Zone 6b.  I noticed a couple of beautiful late season blooming flowers.

We’ve already had several hard frosts.  Most of the leaves have fallen off the trees and been cleaned up.

Late Season Blooming Flowers

I first noticed a grouping of Honorine Jobert Windflower (Anemone × hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’) flowers glistening in a sunbeam.

Anemone × hybrida 'Honorine Jobert' Distance

A little farther away a Fairy Rose (Rosa ‘The Fairy) was strutting its stuff.

Fairy Rose Closeup

Here’s a picture from a distance.

Fairy Rose Grouping - late season blooming flowers

I admit late season blooming flowers don’t compare to mid-summer.  In the cold and gloomy days of late fall I’ll take whatever I can get.

Wetland Plants of CT

Every year Cub Scout Pack 170 cleans up Edmund Road in Newtown, CT.  It’s our Earth Day conservation project.  My son and I spent an hour one Saturday morning picking up garbage and admiring flora.  Truth be told I was the only one admiring the flora.

We cleaned up litter on a Saturday.  I was so impressed by the beauty of nature I returned Monday, April 27th 2015 to take pictures.

Edmund Road runs along interstate 84 and cuts straight through a swamp.  There’s a large stream on one side of the road and standing water on the other.

Sanguinaria canadensis habitat 1920 x 1080
At the back of the photo you can see the stream.  In the foreground bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is just coming into bloom.

The plants were growing just up from the edge of the water in partial shade and humusy soil.

It was worth the return trip.

Connecticut Wetland Plants

Sanguinaria canadensis close 1920 X 1080
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis) coming into bloom. Once the weeds around these plants fill in you won’t even know they’re there.
Sanguinaria canadensis Scale 1920 x 1080
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria Canadensis) for scale.
Erythronium americanum 1920 x 1080
Trout lily (Erythronium americanum ) in full bloom. For a week or two in the early spring it lights up the landscape.
Erythronium americanum Close 1920 X 1080
If you don’t look for Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum ) you might miss it.
Trillium erectum 1920 x 1080
Red trillium (Trillium erectum) coming into bloom. Look how red those flowers are!
Trillium erectum close 1920 x 1080
Red Trillium (Trillium erectum) up close and personal.
Lindera benzoin close 1920 x 1080
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) in full bloom.

My childhood home has a small stream and the far side is covered with spicebush.  I can still smell the spice when you crushed the leaves or broke the brittle twigs.

Lindera benzoin Midrange 1920 x 1080
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) a little farther away.
Lindera benzoin Habit 1920 x 1080
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) growing above the stream. You can see skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus) growing on the other side.

Across the street from my childhood home is a large swamp.  A friend and I would go to the swamp and beat the skunk cabbage with sticks because it’s a “Bad” plant.  The more we hit the stinkier it got.  I’d like to apologize to all those poor skunk cabbage plants.  I didn’t know any better.

Thanks for joining me.