I have to say that digital photography is wonderful. We can see our photos immediately and don’t have to wait for slides or prints to be processed. We can shoot many more photos than we need and delete those that aren’t good without cost. And we can easily scroll back through our photo libraries to see what was happening in the the same time period in years past.
For today’s post I thought it would be interesting to compare what was happening in the landscape on this day from 2010 on. Is this weather really quite unusual? Are our plants further along than normal because it was so warm in January and February?
I went back into my photos and pulled out a few that were taken between March 12 and 14th from 2010 onward. Here’s what I discovered.
In 2010 the moss and lichens were some of the most beautiful parts of the landscape. These would be catching my eye today too, if they weren’t buried by snow! Moss is always a vibrant green in March.
In 2010 I was starting seeds. My tomatoes were growing in my basement under lights, and this crate of lettuce greens was started in my solar-heated shed. Today, in 2017, I also have seeds inside under lights (tomatoes and peppers) and lettuce in the shed.
On March 13 in 2011 my witch hazel (‘Arnold’s Promise) was quite a bit smaller and in full flower. This year, 2017, it’s almost done flowering. In fact, it came into flower 2 weeks earlier this than normal this year.
In 2011 there was no sign of my spring bulbs on March 13th. Today, this garden (under the snow) is filled with daffodil and allium foliage.
In 2012 the daffodils were about three inches tall on March 12th. Note that there are also several small chickweed plants in this photo. In 2017 the chickweed in my garden is much larger and many plants are already flowering! So our warm weather this winter has been very kind to the weeds. My daffodils are about 4″ tall as I write this. They aren’t bothered by the snow covering at all.
On this day in 2013 my pink hellebores were in full bloom. They are today too, although last Friday’s storm has temporarily covered them. These Hellebores are Helleborus niger, aka the Christmas Rose. This particular plant comes into bloom in late February every year, while some other H. niger start flowering in December. Once the snow melts I’ll enjoy the flowers on these plants until early May.
My Heuchera plants looked pretty winter-weary on March 13, 2013 but the Dendranthema (aka Chrysanthemum) foliage next to it was green and ready to grow. These plants look just the same this year.
In 2014 I took photos of my Rhododendrons that show how cold the temperatures were. All my rhodys looked the same over the weekend this year as the temps plunged into the single digits again. So this year isn’t much different than the past when it comes to temperature swings in early March.
On March 13th in 2014 the ‘Arnold’s Promise’ witch hazel captured my attention. This year it’s faded and almost finished flowering on that day.
In 2014 I was guessing about the state of my hydrangea flowers. The buds hadn’t started to open yet…
I don’t have many photos of the garden from March of 2015 because much of it was covered with snow. I did have seeds started in the shed behind the dog, so that was on track as normal…
In 2016 the Iris reticulata (bulbs planted in the fall) were in flower on March 13th. I have one flower in bloom this year, but the rest have yet to open. Once all that white stuff is gone…
You can see that the witch hazel was in bloom on March 13, 2016. The neighborhood fox, who we thought was nursing her young at that time, was drawn to the bench to eat the birdseed. We saw her doing the same thing last Friday as the snow fell. When you’re feeding babies you are willing to eat whatever you can find I guess…
Just about every year I have a photo from Country Garden that shows flats of pansies. This year we’ll get some in on the 15th, so anyone who needs a “spring fix” can come in and pick up these cheerful flowers. As soon as the soil in my urns out front thaws again, I’ll be planting pansies in those containers.
Here is my bird/fragrance garden on Friday March 10th, 2017 – in the early morning before it started to snow. The birds seemed to know that snow was on its way, because they filled the area as soon as we put the sunflower chips on the feeder and bench. You can see in this photo that the witch hazel is beginning to fade and the bulb foliage is up. if you look closely you’ll also spot small weeds that I’ll be pulling soon.
I have several varieties of willows in my yard, but it’s the black pussy willows that are most striking in the snow. I see that in this same time period back to 2010 the pussy willows were also in bloom. So whether the winter has been cold, warm or erratic, the Salix seem to keep to the same clock.
So over the past seven years it seems that although there has been a variety of weather, it hasn’t been so extreme that the plant growth has been substantially different. As we approach the ides of March, spring is moving in.
Photography Project: Begin to take three or more photos of your gardens every month on the same day. The 13th, for example. Then you can chart how your plants grow, develop and bloom over time.