We have hundreds of daffodils out in the garden, and many of them are toast. (Most of the daffodils in our garden are the result of years of buying forced potted daffodils for the house in late winter and planting them out into the garden later.)Our poor daffs are now hanging their heads because the hot weather in March lured them into blooming weeks ahead of time and then slammed them with hard frosts in April.
I have been cutting daffodils for the house daily. In a normal spring I might do it once or twice, but this year the only real way to enjoy them has been taking them inside. The daffodils that are open and in full bloom tend to get destroyed, but the ones still in bud are more resilient, so I pick them for my vases.
Bulbs are tough and frosts that destroy the flowers are not going to kill the plants. What I’m really worried about are the trees and shrubs, many of which have started to leaf out as temperatures continue to be above normal. Lately, cooler days and nights are slowing the process down, but we are not out of the woods yet when it comes to major frost damage.What can you do? When it comes to gardeners and the weather, the late Henry Mitchell, author of The Essential Earthman, wasn’t one to mince words:
“It is not nice to garden anywhere,” he wrote. “Everywhere there are violent winds, startling once-per-five-centuries floods, unprecedented droughts, record-setting freezes, abusive and blasting heats never known before. There is no place, no garden, where these terrible things do not drive gardeners mad.”
My friend Sonia Day has some tips and cautions about the weather in her Toronto Star column, Droopy daffodils and other victims of weird weather patterns. I’m certainly taking her advice when it comes to my lavender plants:
Leave lavender alone. Period. Mine now stays a scraggly mess until May, because if you take the snippers to this temperamental babe prematurely, she may get huffy and die on you.
Good advice – that’s exactly how I will deal with my lavender plants.
One good thing has come out of this-too-early, too-dry spring so far: our garden clean-up has been done in record time. A good thing too: the lawn needs mowing now. Yes, it’s also a couple of weeks ahead of schedule.