too darn hot: hello, spring; goodbye, spring

too-darn-hot-tulipH ELLO SPRING, AND GOODBYE SPRING, all in one sizzling weekend as fiery-hot as this overblown tulip. Freezing a week ago, now the garden and I are suffering from burnout. I feel a weather rant coming on: complaints to register, anybody? Or shall we look on the bright side: Yes, the magnolias will come and go in a total of 72 hours, but there’s asparagus for dinner.

cutting-tulipsI plant tulips for cutting only, not in my beds, and plan for bouquets to span the several weeks of tulip season by selecting an early, a middle and a late variety. On Friday I had no tulips yet; today, all of them are in full flower. That’s some big bouquet today…and then no bouquets the other anticipated three weeks. Sigh.

magnolia-shatteringI’m not even sure that Magnolia ‘Ballerina’ (above) will make it into Day 4, the petals are dropping so fast. On the other side of the house, Magnolia ‘Butterflies’ (which was supposed to be a week or two after ‘Ballerina’) is fully open and not long for this world. Sigh again. (But looking back at last year’s posts, I realize it’s right on schedule, the only difference being that the prolonged cold until this week prevented it from opening sooner and therefore lasting longer.)

Even my usual “remember, nothing lasts” Buddhist leanings, my carpe diem mantra, isn’t really helping these last few sweltering days. But I will adjust my attitude in time for supper: The season’s first asparagus fritatta soothes all irritation, or so I am hoping. You? Are you too darn hot (cold, dry, wet, fill in the blank)?


  1. chigal says:

    I seized the nice weather to transplant some cold-tolerant seedlings (calendula, pansies, nettle, etc.), and then ducked back in as the storm clouds gathered to water them in for me. I feel for you on the bulbs and ornamental trees, but from where I sit, I can’t quite reach you.

    That’s nature, isn’t it? We try to plan and schedule and control, but it just does what comes naturally. Sometimes that means a big show and then a nap, instead of incremental flourishes.

  2. Country Gardener says:

    I’m with you. I’m a huge weather complainer – just hate hot weather this early, and I do snarl at people who pollyanna about how nice it is. I don’t welcome this foreshortening of spring.

  3. Susan says:

    90 in April is just not okay, in July and August yes. My Azalea’s wilted terribly, came back to life this morning (they are purple so I am in heaven).
    Asparagus fritatta sounds great, I can eat them as they are picked just plain as well.

  4. Janice says:

    were seeing similar things here, with days getting quite warm, speeding growth up considerably. Our big magnolia usually lasts a couple of weeks and it seems like it started dropping flowers a day or so after they came out! I’m also seeing the Chinese vegetables starting to bolt even though they haven’t fully developed. The frustrating thing for us is that nighttime temps are still quite chilly — too cool to put out tomatoes and cucumbers unprotected. Oh well, I guess that’s what keeps gardening intereresting!?

  5. jane gross says:

    on saturday, in the space of a 2 hour bike ride, my lilacs went from dry stalks to buds. on saturday, during a 3 hour hike at tea town nature preserve, admiring the huge snapping turtles and twirled baby ferns waiting to pop, those lilac buds turned to full blooms. one more day of this and i’ll have peonies. for those of us with gardens best in the spring and all downhill after that, one is loathe to go to sleep and miss the whole show for 2009. and this lament from someone who loves the heat…….until margaret reminded me this morning how short-lived this spring-only garden will be. damn.

  6. Tammy says:

    I agree, and this is from a Texas gardener where we are somewhat used to abrupt changes in the weather. Doesn’t mean we like it. :) Today, torrents of rain which is supposed to last all week.

  7. heather says:

    We seem to be seesawing back and forth this last few days also in on the outskirts of Toronto. Saturday was 75, yesterday 50, today 75, tomorrow? who knows. My “star” magnolia starting opening up about a week ago, burst open on Friday/Saturday and is almost done. The blooms look like a tired hairdo – all scraggly and drooping in the heat. Check out some pictures on my blog – What’s Blooming This Week on blogspot.

  8. Rosella says:

    Hot? Not really, if it’s July. Only 92 today, 91 yesterday, 94 the day before. Oh. I just remembered it’s NOT July but April. The daffodils are fried, the tulips are baked, the lettuce is wilting, the pansies are drooping, and so is the gardener. Can I put the basil out yet?

  9. dave brogren says:

    You got it Margaret. Seems like we go from snow to quite warm here too. Add frustration with the rain as well…. tons fall for weeks, making rototilling or any thing that’ll compact the soil out…. then viola…. cracked hard tack soil and hardly any rain for weeks. Right now the toads are mating and their racket is pretty cool. All my pumps are goin for the pond, and all is pretty well.

    But you are amazing with the amount of work you do. Right now we are enjoying trillium, blood root, those yellow poppies that begin with a “c”, and the lovely pink magnolia out front. We always laugh that when they bloom the loveliest is the day before the big WIND storm….

  10. Jan says:

    We (central IL) used to go from winter to summer in the space of 2 – 3 weeks, but lately we’ve had really cold, wet springs that go on and on. It is great for gardens and tulips that last 3 weeks instead of one but it is tough on farmers who want to get in the field.

  11. Johanna says:

    Between today and tomorrow, 2 inches of rain added to already saturated ground. The weekend was hot and windy and I hoped it was evaporating lot of that water, but there will be no working in the ground this week. And like you, all the tulips exploded into full color at once. Oh, well, make a plan and God laughs.

  12. Garden Guy Kenn says:

    My only complaint.. my legs are still that ‘winter white’ which when paired with shorts just looks out of place. I’m not going to complain about the weather.. it was a long hard winter and I for one have LOVED being able to enjoy my morning coffee on the patio once again, and frolic merrily about the yard and gardens. Well.. the merry frolic could be because I had too much coffee.. :-) No weather complaints out of me (for now). Check back in July when I’m melting from heat and humidity.

  13. Linda says:

    I hate it. It sounds worse down there, but we’ve gone from 90 to 50 to 90 again and tomorrow back to 50’s. AND we’re having the new global warming spring drought, complete with fires. I think if I thought it was natural, I wouldn’t mind so much, but we should be cool and rainy, with a few days into the seventies. And instead of your week long tulips, my daffodils are racing by. The only good news is that my hellebore bloomed for the first year ever. So now I can order more seeds since it lived.

  14. Joyce says:

    All my Forget-me-nots (forgot their real name) are doing great. Behind the bushes, that is. The ones out front are drooping and gasping for breath. The Trillium has it all over “Octomom” this year, but it too is drooping. Everything bolted overnight. The Viburnum doesn’t know what hit it, but at least the heat intensified its perfume. Yesterday I was almost drunk with the scent. In a few more days we will probably have a frost again, and there will go the hydrangeas. In the meantime, I am weeding and mulching as fast as I can.

  15. We’re coming out of several days of 90 degrees as the temp is supposed to stay below 86 today! Our last freeze was April 17th and I rushed out and planted new perennials — that have since suffered horribly with the intense heat before being established — and these are drought tough plants like agastache, salvia and herbs. Still, all plants need to get established. I think my direct sown annual seeds are probably toasted!

    North Carolina

  16. chigal says:

    Maybe it’s the Lake effect (I’m six blocks from Lake Michigan, zone 5b), but all the bulbs and buds in my neighborhood seem to be doing well despite the temperature swings. No lilac blooms yet, and we still have forsythia, daffodils and scillia. Star tulips here and there but plenty more coming. Back down into the low temps this week, and my cold-tolerant seedlings are looking good despite that day or two in the hot sun. I’ll take a few steamy days over last year’s long, cold drizzle anytime.

  17. Kathy says:

    Daffodils and tulips gone but the flowering trees are exploding, especially the Kwanzan Cherries around my area. Too hot but at least it is green outside. Cooler temperatures predicted for tomorrow.

  18. Andrea says:

    Hi Margaret! I’m loving your website btw, esp. that you post alot throughout each week. I’ve been enjoying my asparagus for a couple of weeks down here in NC. Only saw 2 spears this AM so am jealous that you’re just starting to harvest up there! Seems odd that NC and NY are both hitting 90 degrees right now…not normal for any of us at this time of year but I feel for ya’ll cuz we did get an exceptionally colorful springtime before this hot weather hit. Come on down sometime, you’ll love Chapel Hill!

    1. margaret says:

      Welcome, Andrea, and yes, NC is beautiful gardening country to be sure. Thank you for the kind words. I hope that we will see you here again soon, and that there is lots more asparagus in both of our springtimes.

  19. Sharon says:

    Just taking a walk in the garden, too see what is sprouting, no shoes, feels good on the toes. Loving the warm weather in New Jersey.

    1. margaret says:

      Welcome, Sharon. Yes, went barefoot yesterday here, too. (I don’t usually do that, but somehow after the long, icy winter we had and with the hot weather it all seemed to fit: go barefoot, even just for a day.) Nice to see you and do come by again to say hello.

  20. Bobster says:

    Yup, the magnolias ‘popped’ about three days ago. GONE! Maybe two blossoms left on the whole tree. It’s a ‘borrowed’ view, but one I love nonetheless. I find that I’m rethinking seasons and hardiness altogether. Changing times friends.

  21. James says:

    Oops, transplanted dahlias yesterday, and now i see there’s a freeze alert (NE Dutchess Co.) tonight! Maybe I’ll park the car over them and leave the engine running.

  22. Copiague Ann says:

    My Lilium Asiatic Tiny Bee lilies, an Easter gift from my grancchildren, were breathtakingly beautiful until now. They are now losing their flowers and they will be missed as they have been sitting in front of my condo…for all to enjoy. What do I so now to insure the return of such beautiful blossoms? Should I plant the bulbs; do the bulbs need to be dry and replanted in late fall; is there some way I can bring these joys of nature back next spring?

    Thank you, in advance, for any assistance you can provide.

    Copiague, NY

    1. margaret says:

      Welcome, Copiague Ann. Yes, I would transplant it, and give it a try, but what’s critical is that you do not break off the foliage in the process. To perform again the bulb need to be ripened properly by virtue of all the food produced by those leaves. You need to keep the bulb and its foliage intact until it withers of its own accord. So be gentle (or wait until it does so on its own in the pot).

  23. Steve Zick says:

    The saucer magnolias are glorious in Chicago, but many of the star magnolias are strangely lackluster this year and dropping their petals already. No real warmth here as yet–so the bulbs are holding on nicely. We are enduting endless buckets of rain–which I happen to love. My rhodies “PJM” are blooming their heads off, but there’s a serpent in every Eden–my Redbud ‘Forest Pansy’ looks dead as a doornail. Sigh.

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