Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Can't Shake the Unease

Sourwood just leafing out -- seems slow this year
Beautiful days lately, in the 60s or low 70s and pleasant, wonderful days for just sitting on the patio or in the gravel garden. It's still very cold at night, in the 40s.

I can't shake a funny feeling of unease as I wander around the garden. It's late May and I know the cold spring has delayed many plants. Others have bloomed or leafed out right on schedule and there is a lot of spring beauty going on.

But some things are more sensitive to the conditions and are slow to get going. And some just don't look good this spring.

I keep thinking "wait, be patient, we're a week or two behind". But as Memorial Day weekend approaches, I am feeling unsettled about waiting much longer.

In addition to what I already mentioned that died or struggled this winter, I know I lost the dwarf abelias (Fairy Dance) at the top of the stone wall. Abelias leaf out late, so I have been patiently watching, but there is nothing at all.

The Albury Purple St. Johnswort has been such a great plant for me along the west walk, but I can only find one or two leaves at the base this year. St. Johnswort can be a short lived plant. I think this one is gone.

I can see a little bit of red unfurling on the Forest Pansy redbud that I feared was lost. But it is skimpy and only on a couple branches, and by late May the tree should be full of tiny red heart shaped leaves opening up all over.

I know the smokebush will take off soon, but in late May, after being coppiced this winter, it is slowly putting out just a few stubby red leaves at a time. Last year I coppiced it as well, and it was really leafy and brightly colored by this time, and growing fast.

Dogwoods all over town look gorgeous right now, and our pink one looked bright and lovely until today, when it turned muddy. It's the effect of the emerging green leaves now hiding some of the flowers, and the blooms are fading.

The iteas, as I mentioned earlier this week, are bare stemmed with dead branches in a lot of places, and have just tiny leaves opening now. They have looked better in other years but I am waiting for them to fill in and see if they will be all right.

The bayberry (Myrica) in Meadow's Edge is always a pile of sticks until Memorial Day, and no different this spring. The doublefile viburnum in front of it is starting to bloom beautifully -- that's always going to be an unfortunate pairing, though, with the pretty white blooms on the viburnum and the bare twiggy plant behind it.  I blame the garden designer for that.

The persicaria affinis (fleeceflower) still looks awfully brown and ratty, and I am waiting for it to green up. I think it will -- it took a while last year too. There will be a few brown spots that I can dig out when it does fill in, but it seems like it takes forever to start looking ok.

Orange milkweed (Butterflyweed) is just now poking through the soil, its tiny shoots peeking up as if to say "is it Memorial Day yet? No? Still too soon?"

Most things are okay. Some plants I lost. But this waiting and waiting for things to improve is making me so uneasy.

I'm going to get my coffee now and go sit in the dappled shade on the patio and wait some more.

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