It sure has been an unseasonable cold and wet spring, this year. Unpleasant, even, at times, during the day to day passage of time. It was a shocking feeling to still be turning on the heat for a few minutes here and there during the final days of May. Memory eludes me of needing to do that so late in spring in years previous. Nor is my vegetable garden yet in the ground because maintenance was needed on the garden that was put off during the cool and wet spring weather. So, that’s what this weekend’s activity will be, since the weather man is predicting we will have at least one sunny day!
Yet, think for a moment of the upside that the cooler weather has brought in its wake! The ambient coolness of the temperature is acting like a giant refrigerator for nature all around us, allowing the blossoms to last longer than their normal run. The coolness is, in fact, helping to drive the length of peak bloom of this incredibly bountiful spring!
This year, the mid-season azaleas, bursting out all over with their intensely colored flowers, lingered about three weeks. Similarly, the lilacs blooms lasted in tip-top condition for three weeks instead of their normal two and done. They finally faded to brown only when we had the two-day run of marvelously unseasonable, 90-degree weather. Unfortunately, the tree peonies blasted opened during that very same two-day span, all the blossoms coming into flower, one after the other, in the matter of a few hours instead of a few days, and withering the very next day, as their exquisite flower heads are not engineered by nature to sustain hot summer temperatures, but far crisper ones.
Now, however, with sustained cooler temperatures prevailing again, we are at peak bloom for rhododendrons, peonies and viburnum bushes, in pink, red and white. Huge clematis flowers are waving their friendly faces from gates and lamp-posts, large iris in purple and yellow and white are everywhere, their sleeker Japanese cousins with their manifold narrow heads are also in full bloom. And the roses and late wisteria varieties are just beginning their show-stopping displays. In fact, it’s been many a year since I can remember so many shrubs and vines having such spellbinding presentations, one right after the other, a never-ending tour-de-force. The gardens abound with flowers and anticipation of more beauty to unfurl, all through the summer months, feels, at the moment, like a singular blessing. Wrought, this year, by the peculiar alchemy of a warmish winter, with short, intense periods of cold, lasting far into spring.
So, I’m thrilled to be enjoying the focus on the immediacy of nature that this season brings in its wake. A necessary respite from all that craziness in Washington and on social media. At the moment, it feels a whole lot more wholesome than any short-lasting, one-upmanship from the political world.