Normal Spring?

Funny as I sit down to write my April newsletter/blog post, I’m reviewing what I said last April.  I could pretty much just copy it word for word!  Here’s what I started with last year:

“I’m writing this on April 4.  This week we had 5” of snow on Monday, a flooding rain Tuesday and tornados in Central Ohio on Wednesday!  I wonder what tomorrow will bring?  Of course, when you read this newsletter it might be sunny and 70.  Good!  I’m ready.  Now it’s Saturday the 14th and we finally got 2 nice days so far for the year.”

Actually, I do recall vividly that last April was one of the coldest on record followed by one of the hottest Mays.  We went from winter to summer suddenly.  That seems to be the way it is most years.  But so far this year it has been a slow, gradual warm up from winter to spring.  I don’t think there’s such a thing as “normal” when it comes to weather in Central Ohio.  We are the land of extremes.  I’ve said before, it’s a wonder anything grows around here.  But the bulbs are just peeking and most trees, shrubs and perennials are still pretty dormant.  There are, of course the early popping exceptions.  Witch hazels, flowering quince, forsythia, Lenten Rose etc.  Isn’t it funny how the tissue of these plants can take a hard freeze while other plants would simply die.  Plants are amazing.

Don’t forget, we could get a frost up until the middle of May, so a slow warm up will help keep buds and flowers tighter and less likely to freeze.  I say this every year but it bears repeating.  Don’t worry about covering those bulbs.  They can take the cold.  They’ll bounce back after it warms up again.  In fact, you can do more damage by covering them when the weight of the blanket breaks them down or forces them even further out by leaving them covered in the daytime.

Speaking of blankets, I hate to see man made materials covering plants in winter.  It looks so artificial.  I’m talking about things such as styrofoam rose cones and burlap wrap around arborvitaes to prevent wind burn or deer damage.  (this is becoming very common in Michigan) If these plants present a problem, use different plants!  Keep it natural if you want a pleasant appearance with low maintenance!

Get ready for another warm, lovely Central Ohio summer!