12 February, 2013

The Early Season Has Arrived!

Thanks to some long periods of warm,rainy weather,the early season daffodils are already in bloom here in Zone 7b. The 2013 Earliest Daffodil award will be shared by Ice Follies and Tete-a-Tete.Both of these daffodils opened their first buds on February 6,slightly earlier than "normal."  
Ice Follies

There is nothing unusual about these two being the earliest bloomers.The early season is usually a three-way race between Ice Follies,Tete-a-Tete and Carlton.The old patch of Carlton went blind a couple of years ago so he unfortunately wasn't a contender this year. I did plant 25 bulbs in a new garden bed this year so maybe Carlton will regain the title in 2014.

Compare this to the non-winter of 2012 when Tete-a-Tete first bloomed on February 13th and Ice Follies debuted on February18th. This was right on time despite the 75 degree temps. The earliest narcissus of 2012 bloomed on January 24th. It was (surprise!)Geranium, a Poetaz type that usually  blooms along with the jonquils in late March and early April. 

The early season trumpets,large cups and miniatures can be wildly variable in their bloom times, in my experience. If the weather is warm and sunny they are often in bloom in early February while snow and ice early in the winter seem to frighten them into waiting several weeks.

It will be interesting to see how the season progresses in 2013. The nights have been cold but a warm spell and a foot of rain in January and 6 inches so far in February are all that was needed to wake the garden. The leucojum has been blooming since December and the iris reticulata bloomed in January and I didn't even notice until after it was finished. All signs are pointing to an early spring but it's not time to celebrate yet. The coldest weather of the winter often comes in March. Stay tuned.

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