Just like that, a perfect weekend of weather, and ProfessorRoush has caught up with spring. There's always something magical about Easter weekend that brings the spring garden together. Early or late, the plants seem to follow Easter's timing and so, evidently, does ProfessorRoush.
Other than a few hours low of 25ºF one morning this week, spring has been a lamb this year, gradually warming up to today's 82ºF high and full sunshine, with few frosts or, even worse, late snows to set the plants back. My Star Magnolia (Magnolia stellata) bloomed perfectly this year, not set back once by the weather and I'm already missing its warm scent. All of the bulbs are up and out, with daffodils at their peak and the beautiful blue Scilla siberica and blue and white Puschkinia scilloides pictured above and the grape hyacinths to the left have delighted me for a couple of weeks and are just beginning to fade. Both the Scilla and Puschkinia self-seed and spread here, and I now have Scilla in most of the beds around the house after planting them in only two little spots. Thankfully, Scilla is easily controlled here, an unusually well-behaved and hardy plant in my garden. Most plants that thrive in Kansas are rampant thugs, seemingly surviving on an overwhelm-and-kill-the-neighbors' philosophy.
To catch up this weekend, I purchased, transported, and spread over 70 bags of mulch bark in front and back, cut down all the ornamental grasses, fertilized everything already green including over 100 daylilies, put up new Purple Martin houses, mowed around some early fast-growing edges, cut down the decrepit last-years-thrip-stricken Emerald Gaiety euonymus and sprayed them so they could rejuvenate, removed a 3-year-old dying Japanese maple from the front, spread another dozen hay and straw bales as mulch, sprayed the columbines to prevent Phytomyza aquilegivora (leafminers), planted 50 new strawberry plants and set up the system to water them, and probably did a few smaller chores I can't even remember.
The photos above and left are of my now cleaned and mulched back bed from two sides, spoiled only by the serpentine hose I used to wet down the mulch (high winds are forecast here for Tuesday. The prairie is still brown, but you can see the life beginning in my garden beds. Notice the daffodils blooming here and there, the clumps of daylilies frantically growing, and the peonies coming up? I can hardly wait for this coming week. Sometime in the next two days, I'll entertain you with pictures of my 'Ann' and 'Jane' Magnolias, both just coming fully into bloom, and maybe, just maybe, 'Yellow Bird' will show it's pretty face this week. The several days of recently warm weather has the entire garden growing on steroids right now, with redbuds, lilacs, and tulips all starting to break bud out there as I write this. My soul is on vibrate mode, excited for a so-far normal spring.