It has been a very dry spring despite warnings of severe storms, hail, locusts, tornados, and falling toads. It just seems too early to be using irrigation and our very expensive water down here. Bring on the April showers, You have two weeks to produce!
My roses are looking good and about to burst into full bloom. I order my roses from David Austin, USA. David Austin was an English rosarian who passed away two years ago after having introduced the world to some amazing roses. Best of all, they all have scent unlike the new Hybrids. He named his roses after famous figures in British history and this might confuse most Americans and many Brits. My favorite rose is Abraham Darby. Geek that I am, I know that Darby was an early 18th century Quaker industrialist who first smelted iron from coke, but I doubt that is a name on everyone’s lips. Fortunately, the extensive catalog from Austin roses describes the naming of each rose so mysteries are solved.
The last hard freeze we had in the middle of March really separated the hardy from the not so hardy plants. My usually hardy Salvias took a hit. The "Black and Blue" and "Amistad" Salvias fared well. So did the “Rockin”series. The “Wish” series ("Wendy’s Wish", "Ember’s Wish") have disappeared completely. They are now off of my list. I have gotten quite brutal with my plants. If they do not come back successfully, then they are done. I will not replace them. They may work well in another garden, but not mine. I also have found the same successes and failures in the Pollinator Garden that I maintain at a different location.
I love Hamelia patens or Mexican Firebush. It is very susceptible to a frost. It does die all the way down to the ground and then comes back slowly from the roots. Just cut the dead remains back. The warmer the soil, the faster it will return.
There is no better plant for a spring garden than Baptisia (Baptisia australis) or wild indigo. I have the traditional one with blueish purple flowers and then I have a cultivar called “Carolina Moonlight” that is a pale yellow. The foliage is very interesting as well as the pea like seed pods when the flowers are done.
The soil is warm enough for you to plant seeds. I have planted Mexican Sunflowers (Tithonia rotundifolia) for my butterflies. I have Zinnias in now and will plant some more seeds in 30 days so that I get a continuous supply. I have also planted Ageratum seeds. Ageratum is pretty tough although it did die back this year, but self seeds well.
This has been a pretty crazy late winter and spring where we have had temps in the 80’s for a bit and then two days later a frost. I did something different this year and mulched last fall. This made a huge difference in plant viability and weed abatement. The strong winds have also been a problem particularly for my own garden right on the marsh. I have never had so many heavy containers blow over! Winds can desiccate plants and weaken them. The winds have been so strong that some days I have had to fill my fountain twice as the water blows right out of it.
With all my whining though, it is so wonderful to see things appearing above the soil as the soil temperature rises and the days grow longer. Get out there and play in the dirt.