Thursday, April 25, 2013

Trains, Plows and Flying Frogs

My brave parents and parents-in-law independently decided they needed to spend some time alone with Dianthus this month.  He flew to Colorado and spent six nights there, was home for a week, and then drove to Branson, Missouri for a few days.  Much to most everyone's surprise, he was apparently a delightful individual for most of it, and, despite escaping during nap time in Colorado and staying up all night to check on the status of the ice cubes in Branson, all adults claim they would do it again.
At this end, it was also informative to learn that we can take Aster out to dinner if his brother is not around.
For those of you with one child believing that you now understand how shockingly exhausting a child can be, so you are somehow prepared for the second,  ignore how cute the kid is in these photos and take heed: the increased effort is exponential, not additive. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

"Maybe wear something with flowers?"

I asked Dianthus to approve my outfit before walking to church (in gale force winds) yesterday. He suggested that I wear something with flowers.  I'm not sure if he's caught on to Floraganza, he thinks that church outfits should all be Easter dresses, like those pictured here, or if he just didn't like my drab brown outfit.   In any case, it is pleasant (?) to know that someone thinks I should be wearing more flowers.  Other images are from the great Easter egg hunt (March 31) and the Easter bouquet that melded store bought and home grown flowers.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Why the tulips were fleeting

After 80 degrees on Monday and Tuesday, this was Wednesday.
Coloradans, you are not alone in experiencing dramatic shifts in weather.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tulip Timing Tendencies (another book I'm not going to write)

A clump of bright red tulips are a showstopper in my front yard at the moment*.  They are flanked by some daffodils and grape hyacinths in full bloom and some pink hyacinths not far away.  The pale little violets throughout the yard are fading, but if you admire at just the right angle, the larger violets out now make a great backdrop for the tulips.
I spent 38 hours at my parents' house in Colorado over the weekend.  Their bright blue Siberian Squill are marching through the mulch, their grape and regular pink and purple hyacinths are in full bloom, the daffodils are just starting and the regular tulips are weeks away.
Every year such comparisons make me wonder why I've never found a comprehensive list of flowering triggers.
Some plants are very predictable followers of daytime temperature.  Other nighttime temperature.  For others, it must be day length only.  The difference might explain why, if Denver trees are three to four weeks "behind" Oklahoma trees, the grape hyacinths can be exactly the same stage.
 I picked the last of my purple regular hyacinths on March 16.  The pink ones opened yesterday.
When I lived in Scotland, I was shocked that the daffodils emerged in January but didn't bloom until late March, at about the same time they bloomed in Denver, even though they'd only been out of the ground for a week or so in Denver.  This spring, my established daffodils were up in January and bloomed in March.  The newly planted ones emerged late in March and are blooming now.  Microclimate (brick east facing wall vs. under a tree), genetics or age of plant?
So this book I want to write (more precisely, this book I want to have written) is one that lists flowering and leafing triggers for all plants.  Are they controlled by high temperature, low temperature, day length, phase of the moon or water, and in what combination? If that's too ambitious I'd be satisfied with all temperate garden plants to start with.

In the meantime, I'll keep compiling reports. In Weatherford, the red-buds are just opening and the crabapples are starting.  The Bradford Pears are done.  Silver maples have the first helicopters but have not started dropping them.  Our currant smells great and was buzzing on the warm day yesterday.  Lilacs had obviously swollen leaf buds on March 16 and stalled at that stage for three weeks.  Oaks started leafing yesterday while the walnuts and pecans show no signs of life.  Freedom lawns are purple with stork's bill (the lamium having past) and ours contains bonus "scrambled eggs" (a corydalis) and some white lithospermum-like plant (I have not keyed it but I am "confident in its boragniaciousness").
In Oklahoma City on Sunday red buds were in full bloom and some of the Bradford pears were in full leaf.
My parent's front frittalaria was fantastic, but the back still a long way away.

*What is likely to be a very fleeting moment-- they were closed buds over the weekend.  One day of 80 degree wind yesterday left many over-open and vulnerable to the incoming storm.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Lek Off Cancelled, Spring Reports Still Wanted

There are no new twins, no film crew, no June 31 and no Lek Off For Love (although prairie chickens do lek).
There is also no snow, no broken ankles, no leeks in the toilet and I did shave 4 minutes off of my 5k time. 
I know that come April first it is hard to know what to believe in my e-mails.
I do, definitely, want your spring reports.