Winters Of Spring
Redbud winter, dogwood winter, black berry winter, locust winter,*…(above Narcissus bulbocodium ‘Golden Bells’)
…are (mainly Southern) terms used to describe a brief period of cold weather that coincides with the time certain trees and shrubs are in bloom, typically in early to mid April into May here. (Above Fritillaria meleagris bud) This frosty morning must be Redbud Winter. The temperature was hovering right at freezing. Certain of the more open places in the garden were showing the frozen droplets of dew when the camera and I went out to catch the morning rays glancing over the earth. Tulips in the knot garden, one of the coldest spots on our property at the top of the slope were frosted but unharmed.Labeled as orange tulips potted for sale over a month ago with the tips just peeking out of the soilless mix, there is no damage from the cold snap apparent.Tulipa clusiana ‘Lady Jane’ is bowed but not broken by the glittery frozen crystals. She should right herself in the warming sunshine and near seventy degree temps today.The colors of this vignette suggest frost even when not brushed with ice. Muscari ‘Valerie Finnis’, lamb’s ear, Stachys byzantina, and blue fescue, Festuca glauca, among others share cool shades.Perched on a stone in a bit of moss a heuchera seed decided to be born. Let this be a lesson about drainage and heucheras, there is no soil here. We wonder how long this baby will survive once the dry hot summer winds cause the moss to brown up. Cold rains are to its liking for the moment. It may have to be rescued and planted in real soil.The next weather singularity, as these winters are called will be Dogwood winter, for pink and red buds are swelling on the slope. We do seem to be a bit ahead of last year when a post about Pink Dogwood Winter was written mid April. You may click here to read that story if you so desire.Around our older neighborhood, native dogwoods are only a day or two away from full open bloom. Some that were growing around here when we first bought the house have been lost to the anthracnose disease that spread through this area about ten years ago. Some of the trees, including several on our property escaped that scourge. The University Of Tennessee has been working on developing clones of Cornus florida from the hardy survivors in Catoctin Mountain Park, Maryland. C. ‘Appalachian Spring’ is a cultivar available now as a result of this research.Spring with cold dips is a roller coaster ride here. The flora and fauna have learned to take the ups and downs in stride. The humans have learned to be thrilled and ride the big drop down with hands up in the air sitting in the front car and yelling all the way.
*Some old timers add linsey-woolsey or cotton britches winter as the last one, meaning the day you can stop wearing the long underwear. Linsey-woolsey is a plain woven fabric with linen or cotton warp and woolen weft used in early America for warmth.