Oh, it would be nice if this were a post about flowers that bloom twice in a season!
Sadly, it’s not.
Here is my front garden on Tuesday morning, May 6.
And here it is on Sunday, May 11.
Last year we had a similar snow on May Day. This year, Mother’s Day. Does that mean next year, Memorial Day?
Fortunately, there appears to be no long-term damage. However, this late storm serves as a reminder that average last frost dates (now officially May 10 in Colorado Springs) are not guaranteed last frost dates. A few clients chomp at the bit to get annual color and plants fresh from the greenhouse at the first opportunity to wear short sleeves. Wise is the gardener who waits.
Mid-February. Can you see it? The sun’s peeking over the horizon just a little bit earlier and dipping behind the Peak just a little bit later. Honestly. Days are noticeably longer.
Look close! Bulbs coming up in Robb's Westside "Sleeping Bear Oasis" - photo by himself.
Depending on each garden’s location, and the microclimates within each garden, crocus and other early bulbs might be poking their first green tips into daylight. A few choice spots may even have some crocus or snowdrops blooming. These first appearances are triggered more by soil temperature than day length. If you keep a record of your first crocus, over the years you’ll find the date shifts from early February to well into the first week of March.
Two major factors govern early activity in the garden: Day length and temperature. Soil temperature, at this stage of the season, has a larger influence than day length or daily highs and lows. Fortunately, soil warms and cools more slowly, moderating the effects spikes and dips in the air can have on plants. This helps assure they show above ground at the right time.
Seeing green tips, but feeling anxious about the inevitable cold spells yet to come? Not to worry! Leaves programmed to emerge in early spring have a hefty dose of sugary antifreeze.