Chilly Spring – May 14

As a gardener, I’m compelled to begin with weather-related talk, after taking a couple months off from blogging. This isn’t an exaggeration: This IS the chilliest spring on record for our area. Although we live a couple of hours from Seattle, temperatures crested at 51F Thursday at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, breaking the record for Seattleā€™s coldest May 12, according to the National Weather Service. Nights here at Coppertop are still dipping into the mid-30s, and we haven’t even had one day reach 55F on this mountain. As a result, plants are way behind in development. A benefit is some blooms have lasted about a month, including oriental hyacinths, daffodils, and the first tulips. It’s as if they’ve been in a refrigerator nonstop. The majority of my tulips haven’t opened yet. Some say that in recent years the area has just gotten used to warmer springs and that this year is more like the old, cold springs of yore.

Now that I have you shivering, a note about precipitation: By May 7 we’d received the amount of moisture expected during the entire month of May. In April, we had more than double our normal rainfall. The up side: Snowpack in the Olympic Mountains (our water source) is excellent, and we will not have the water restrictions that so many others do across our planet. No drought here. YET.

Now that you’re feeling both chilly and damp (Welcome to Coppertop!), we’ll move on to garden news. As you can imagine, moss is having a heyday. Besides moss, here’s what’s happening, complete with loads of anticipation:

ONE -Something fresh and new in our garden is this ring of plants around one birdbath. A kitchen window looks out on this scene that sits next to a row of peonies. We dug out failing, unattractive heather and put in Geum ‘Totally Tangerine’ and Penstemon ‘Pocahontas.’ I’m excited for the show ahead.

TWO – Along with wild cherry trees in parts of our land, we grow six cultivated cherry trees. The weeping, flowering cherry has finished blooming; the huge, old Montmorency sour cherry is just entering bloom; two, semi-dwarf, young sweet cherries (Rainier and Vans) are in full bloom; and two trees are still in bud, a dwarf Montmorency and our Kwanzan flowering cherry. I recently read that bees in our region are chilly and grumpy, and remain huddled in the hive. This can greatly affect cherry growers in particular.

Vans cherry tree at top of Lupine Hill

Rainier cherry tree on Chicken Hill

Kwanzan cherry trying to bloom

THREE – Anemone sylvestnis ‘Madonna’ are awaiting more sunshine to show their faces. It’s obvious how they got their nickname “snowdrop anemones.” I started these from seed a few years back, and they thrive beneath the Rainier cherry.

FOUR – These photos don’t show it, but Lupine Hill truly is a hill. I’m thankful for lush lupine foliage and the flowers that are on their way.

FIVE – Rhody Grove with its dozen rhododendrons is preparing to pop. The buds are just about as lovely as the blooms.

SIX – It will be a banner year for redcurrants, Ribes rubrum. That’s if the bees make it out to play. C’mon sun!

Six on Saturday was started by Jon, aka The Propagator, in the U.K. Visit his blog to see what’s up in beautiful and diverse gardens worldwide.