Saturday, March 12, 2016

Spring is Early 2016

Our SE Nebraska winter was pretty mild, and spring seems to be coming early.  I didn't get the blues I normally do at the end of winter, where I just want it to be over, so I can get back out and work in the dirt.  There is cause for concern, though, because shrubs and fruit trees are blooming early, and a freeze could cause them not to fruit this season.  

More of the early bloomers in our yard are not native than other times of the season, but there are some natives at least getting ready to bloom.  Prairie smoke geum is native to areas near us.  It gets a cool looking fluffy seedhead, which explains the name.

Hellebores are one of my favorite non-native spring bloomers.

There are several kinds of pussytoes.   I believe the link is to the kind this is.  The conditions are not as dry as they prefer, so they do not spread as much as I thought they would, but I'm pleased to see them continue to survive.

 I didn't realize when I added more pasqueflowers that not all are native.  I think this may be one of the native ones, though. 

When I took photos for this post, I went in the order of where they were in the yard, and did not organize by the types of plant.  It would be cool to have more clumps of hellebore in one bed, but this way, when they are finished blooming, the taller plants in the bed will take up the space, and hide the plants.

I have to protect the woodland phlox (and garden phlox) from the rabbits.  They eat them to the ground when they get a chance.

The hellebores sure are cheerful!

I haven't planted any bulbs for a number of years, but most of the ones I did plant have continued to come up and put on a show.

I needed some vegetable seeds the other day, and when I got to the garden center, was sidetracked by the pansies.  I forgot all about checking to make sure they were not treated with pesticides.  I need to call and find out.  I think if one cuts off the first blooms, there will be less of it in the next blooms.  Have you ever heard of that?  Our granddaughter, Ruby helped plant and water these.

The Heuchera, I'm pretty sure, richardsonii, is a native coral bells, and pretty much evergreen here. 

I was thinking this may be bloodroot, but AScott let me know in a comment it is sharp-lobed hepatica, which I do remember planting some of.  Thanks AScott!

This is a golden alexanders seedling.  I'm wondering if it is OK to share some of these, considering they had a disease on the leaves last year.

More plants have come up since these photos were taken a few days ago.  My husband does not like the flower beds in the winter, and does not like leaving leaves on in the spring, but he held back and did not try to get every leaf out of the beds.  I didn't even rake some of them.  I want to see if the plants can grow through them, and let them use the leaves for mulch.  When I was cutting the grasses back,  I put them in the path in the area where the tree used to be.  He doesn't like that, either, but I am hoping he'll get used to it

I hope all is well with you.  Spring is here for some, and on it's way for others.  I am pleased!


  1. That is not bloodroot - it is sharp-lobed hepatica (hepatica acutiloba). Also, bloodroot is only toxic if you break open the bulb (native americans used the juice as a dye). Keep the leaves, the insects will thank you!

    1. Thanks, AScott! I do remember planting hepatica, now that you mention it.

  2. Good morning Sue ~ Good to see spring starting to happen in your gardens. I hope you have no more frosty weather.

    My favorite flower of yours is that purple/mauve hellebore. Wow, what a gorgeous color.

    Happy Spring ~ FlowerLady

  3. Sue, it does seem that Spring has sprung but, like you, I'm hesitant to declare that it's here to stay. I suspect we will get one more blast of cold and maybe snow. It's hard not to start planting with the encouraging nice weather we've had this last week, but experience has shown me to be patient. I may plant some things a bit early with the understanding that old Jack Frost may still come and kill the plants. Early planting is a gamble and it must be kept in mind that if they make it all the better but the odds are they won't.

    All my Spring flowers are up and growing. The daffodils are flowering and the rest are close behind. I redesigned my front yard Spring flower bed last Fall so I'm anxious to see how it looks this Spring. I have a mixture of Hyacinth, Tulips, Daffodils, and Crocus. It's supposed to rain this weekend and we certainly could use rain.

    Have a great flower garden Spring awakening day.

    1. Hi Dave, I have planted lettuce and peas earlier than this, and they survived any cold temps that came our way. This is actually the latest I've gotten them in for quite a few years. Usually, I get the first plantings done by the middle of February. That is what I've called my gamble garden, even though they almost always survive. We got a little rain, but not much.

  4. Hi Sue, I love your new picture. Is that the baby you wee caring for?? My goodness, she's all grown up! Our winter has been weird, as well. My Hellebore started to bloom then we got snow. They aren't happy! Last summer, I left the leaves on the garden. I did pull them from some of the flowers but left them on others and it was fine. I plan to do the same this season. You have so many beautiful natives! you have encouraged me to do more and more native plants.....the butterflies and bees thank you!

  5. Ah, I miss the excitement of green-up in a prairie spring! It's beautiful down here, too, but it doesn't get as brown, therefore spring is a quieter transition. Especially on the plains, it sure is nice to have a few non-natives like hellebores and daffodils in the springtime. I understand completely why prairie plants wait to green up...but as the temperatures climb out of the refrigeration zone, I crave green leaves and flowers!

  6. Your gardens looks great this time of year as usual. I have been trying to get my hands on some pasque flower and prairie smoke seed, but they both must be in short supply this year. It will still be a while before I have any flowers here, but I'm happy that the fruit trees haven't woke up for the year since we have many days cold days ahead.

  7. Lovely...we are about a week behind you although i think we had a mild winter it was still cold and snowy....spring is early here too!

  8. Hi Sue
    Hubby and I just returned from a couple of weeks in your lovely Nebraska and the weather was so nice and warm. Even back here in Michigan , things seem well ahead of schedule. We've even lost most of our snow already---that's early for us.
    Loved seeing your flowers in very pretty. Have a wonderful week

  9. This mild weather is really making things sprout. I too hope we don't get a freeze again.
    I like your use of the old bike basket to protect the sprouts. I use a lot of empty wire hanging baskets for the same reason.
    It is hard to change the habit of having a "clean" yard. My hubby's good with the leaves. They feed the soil! I leave everything I can.
    Thanks for the tour of your garden waking up this spring!

  10. Spring is early here too. So far, no tender flowering trees seem to be blooming, but if this continues, they might. All I have in bloom are bulbs and hellebores, and these are safe from frost.

  11. I so enjoyed this early spring visit to your garden Sue. We also are having a very early spring in Oklahoma. It's worrisome of course, but I'm just trying to get on with things and not worry. I keep telling myself I can't control the weather. Fingers crossed for us both.

  12. Spring is here too. My hellebores are a little late, because we were so cold in Feb. when they should have opened. All else is either on time or a little early. I too worry that winter is not done with us, but we will see.

  13. I just love it when the hellebores start pushing up, and they bloom so quickly. I like your rabbit cage, I can use all of those I can get. Husbands often don't have the same gardening goals, I guess when spring comes and there is less brown he will like it better. My husband just likes the paths wide for his mower and hates it when the plants grow out of bounds and narrow everything.

  14. Hi Sue, that's a lot to clean in your garden header! If i am in a temperate country maybe i will not be gardening because cleaning is a big job, lol. By the way, i love most the pansies, i was smitten the first time i saw them in Sweden. Regarding the thing you heard about cutting the first bloom, i think it is the other way around. When you allow first flowers to produce fruits and seeds, most of the nutrients and energies of the plant go to the developing parts, so there will be less flowers produced or smaller fruits later. It is part of the 'source and sink'theory.


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