Did We have a Winter 2023?
This has been one of the mildest winters I can recall. We have had no snow accumulation (not that unusual), and very few nights with lows below freezing. Christmas time brought us an intense arctic freeze, but it was brief. WRAL says that we are about two weeks ahead of ourselves when it comes to Springtime this year. To the doubters, Sir Walter Wally, our local groundhog, did not see his shadow. He has prognisticated accurately this year.
A very charming group of crocuses appeared in the far back near the pond in January this year. This is the earliest that they have bloomed.
The hellebores are performing beautifully. The plant that receives the most sun was blooming in January. This photo was taken in mid-February.
Bluebells are popping up everywhere. At this rate, I think they will bloom in early March. The vines with the blue flowers are vinca.
It has been wonderful to see Venus return to the evening sky. These photos were taken on Jan. 23.
Jupiter is high in the sky with Venus below the moon.
The moon and Venus
The squirrels have been foiled this year. Black almost invisible netting is protecting most of the blossoms from them. Its really frustrating because they don't even eat them, they just tear them apart. We have missed seeing this cherry red in the Spring for the last few years. The lovely bush brightens an otherwise dark corner in the backyard.
Feb. 18th in the setting sunlight.
The same bush on March 1st. We will definitely use the netting again next year. It was an overcast day, but we received about 3/4 of an inch of rain in the wee hours of March 2nd. Bring on the Spring flowers!
The camellia was a success story this year, our Royal Star Magnolia was not when compared to 2022. We had very few blossoms this year. I will water it more often this summer. I suspect our unusually dry summer in 2022 year affected the production of blossoms. I'll show you the good performance in 2022. I didn't bother to take a photo in 2023. I wish I had now. The comparison is quite shocking.
Back to early Spring. The forsythias also started about two weeks ahead of schedule. Instead of starting in late Feb. they are wrapping up. Look at all of the green leaves. I spotted this plucky Chickadee in the forsythia hedge on March 1st.
My neighbor Susan had candy tuft blooming its heart out in Feb. This is certainly pretty, but it still seems a little surreal.
Now that March has arrived, we will see if this rapid pace of development continues. I hope it slows down. I much prefer to see the plants on a normal schedule. We even had pine pollen on our cars this week. WRAL has a story about it: https://www.wral.com/it-is-earlier-than-we-ve-been-experiencing-in-the-past-yellow-pine-pollen-like-this-is-unprecedented-for-february/20740509/
Aside from feeling a little out of sync with this early cycle, my most pressing job this week is weeding the wild onions. Once that is done, I think we'll be into the fun part of Spring gardening. We'll see if the German Irises bloom in April or will it be March this year?
Spring is here! At least it is in the Piedmont of North Carolina.