There seems to be several categories of plants there just now:
- One set have decided it's time, and their buds are open, and growing quickly.
- One set have had buds ready to go for a long time, but they are not currently growing. They're just biding their time.
- One set have their buds still firmly closed
- The strawberries and forget-me-nots are in a class of their own, since they never really went away for the winter anyway.
Here are some photos of what I've found.
Plants that think spring has arrived.
The wild plum, as usual, is the first to commit. It's buds were tightly closed last week, but it is now in full growth and will be flowering soon.
These crocuses have definitely decided to get on with things.
Those are the only two that I could find that had definitely decided that spring had arrived.
Plants that have been ready since autumn, but are still not convinced.
Below are the plants that have pushed their buds through the ground, or have opened the buds on their stems, but which are waiting for warmer weather before they do anything with those buds.
I always find these plants very interesting as they are not protecting their soft growth by keeping the buds completely closed or below the ground. They seem to like to get a little bit ahead, but not commit to serious growth until the weather is fairly warm.
So here are the plants:
These buds have been through since late autumn, but will not do anything for ages yet. Their name escapes me just now.
The sedum also pushed its buds through last autumn, but will not put in further growth above ground for quite a while.
The rose is considering its position but will not be doing any serious growing any time soon.
The honeysuckle has also opened its buds, but is now waiting.
Finally the paeony has its large buds ready and waiting, but is not yet gung ho enough about the weather to actually start growing.
Plants that still think it's winter
The most cautious plants are the set that are keeping their buds tightly shut for longest. For some reason this includes most, but not all, of the fruit trees. The wild plum is always slightly ahead and the others follow behind. Here they are the plants that commit last:
The apple tree will probably be the last to burst its buds. Once the apple buds are open then I always know that spring is definitely here. Apples never rush things.
The pear tree is keeping its buds shut too. They will probably open slightly before the apple buds.
The cherry tree is keeping its buds shut too for now.
What do the earliest herbaceous perennials think?
What about the herbaceous perennials that keep their above ground growth over winter?
I always like to watch a particular set of herbaceous perennials that tend to commit to spring growth early. For me, their actions are a real sign of the timing of spring.
This year, the forget-me-nots are still biding their time. They have last year's growth, but nothing new for this year.
At this time of year the strawberries keep their leaves pulled down low to the soil almost as if they were trying to keep them warm by trapping a little bit of warm air underneath. That's what's happening now, and they have the deep read band around the edge of the leaves. I always assume that colour is something to do with frost proofing, but I'm not sure what it is exactly. I see the same pigment in the privet leaves in winter.
Is it spring yet?
So there we are. It's mostly still winter in the garden here, but the wild plum has decided to get going, and that means that everything else is not far behind. As in every year, it will be very interesting to watch how the temperature changes as we go through March and April, and so see how soon the various plants commit to opening their buds and getting on with spring growth.
This is continued on part 2.