An optimist is the human personification of spring. ~ Susan J. Bissonette
April sure has made it hard to be optimistic these days. For the first 2 weeks it was cold after a very warm and hot March. There were numerous freezes, but they finally gave way mid month to what appeared to be a spring warm up with temps rising to 90. But that was short lived and the cold raw weather returned for the last 2 weeks with temps plunging to the 40s. We had snow, sleet and many more freezes which didn’t bode well for any fruit trees and my lilacs. We even had a snow day (school was closed in many areas) in late April which is unheard of.
Yes April appeared to be the among the worst in recorded history weather wise around here. The critters who braved the warmth of March were soon in for harsh conditions.
Birds have not been nesting and the pollinators are looking for blooms. All we have right now are daffs,
grape hyacinths and hellebores. Yes the hellebores are still blooming. But the pollinators are grateful for the grape hyacinths. Any frogs that appeared have long since run to the bottom of the pond to hide in the mud once more waiting for spring to return. Like them I cannot wait for May. Temps are predicted to rise from the 60s to the 80s during the week with night temps in the 50s instead of the 20s…hallelujah!
And because of the May like weather in March, the hosta has appeared way too early. They started to put out foliage this past week, and I thought they had made it through unscathed until this weekend when we had 4 nights of freezes. They are now limp and frozen looking more like late fall than spring. I doubt they will revive and put out new foliage, but I can hope.
Of course there are the wildflowers. Wildflowers that should be starting to bloom. But those that have decided to bloom early due to the lack of snow are sticking around much longer. The bloodroot and hepatica bloomed for weeks instead of days. And the Twinleaf, Dodecatheon meadia (Shooting Star), trillium, creeping phlox, Trout Lily and Virginia bluebells are all blooming now making pollinators a bit happier.
And the meadow flowers are growing especially my beloved wild lupines or Lupinus perennis which are part of the Pea Family. They continue to progress slowly putting out foliage. They are one of my 12 favorite wildflowers that I am including in my series, Simply the Best as I link in with Diana@Elephant’s Eye for her Diana’s Dozen and Wildflower Wednesday@Clay and Limestone (which was last Wednesday).
I first discovered this flower as I would drive the highway to my last job. The gorgeous fields of long deep purple flowers in May were addicting and I knew I had to grow them. These flowers prefer sun and fairly dry conditions making them perfect for open fields and road sides.
You can grow lupines in pots, but they are prone to root rot, and should be transplanted after they have 2 or 3 leaves. It is best to directly sow them into the garden. Early spring or fall are best for sowing seeds because of the cold and moisture conditions needed for germination. They prefer amended especially sandy soil. Scatter the seed and walk on them to make sure they are firmly in the soil. Make sure you do this during the rainy part of the season. They will grow nice small clumps of foliage the first year and usually flower the second year.
The flowers of wild blue lupine are usually deep purple but also can be white and blue. They flower on a 3 to 7 inch long spike. When they are done flowering you can find an elongated pea pod of seeds forming and waiting to pop. I have never heard them pop, but it is said they do especially if you collect the seed. I will have to test this out this year.
Lupinus perennis grows wild in dry, open woods and fields from Ontario to Florida along the east coast and west from Ohio to Minnesota. The plant usually grows amongst pines and sandy prairies in the east.
Many other lupines also grow throughout the United States, and can be found in the Pacific Northwest, the West Coast, and parts of the Southwest. Lupines also grow throughout Europe as far north as Norway.
Wild blue lupine is a potentially threatened species in some states particularly Ohio where they have been eradicated as a result of mowing, weed control with pesticides and fire suppression.
There are many common names for wild lupine: Wild Pea, Wild Bean, Blue Pea, Old Maid’s Bonnet, Quaker-Bonnet, Sundial.
The name Sundial comes from the habit of the leaves. They follow the sun from dawn until dusk finally folding at night to protect them from the chilly nights.
The plant’s name was derived from the Latin lupus (wolf) because it was once thought to deplete or wolf the mineral content of the soil.
Honeybees, hummingbirds and the Frosted Elfin butterfly (Callophrys irus) love this plant too. Deer will browse the foliage and birds and other critters will eat the seeds.
In the 13th century, lupines were used to heal the child’s umbilical cord after it was cut.
Even though this plant was thought to deplete the soil of nutrients, it does actually fertilize the land around it.
Language of Flowers
Lupine means “dejection” or “imagination”, and can also mean “voraciousness”.
Under the ground the seed awaits
For the warmth of the sun upon its head
Waking from peaceful slumber
To break free and push past its constraints.
Stretching now toward the nourishing light,
Changing and growing into a new form
Soon to show the world the beauty that has lain dormant
Now unfettered-a true celebration!
Check out other posts in the series, Simply the Best:
I wanted to thank everyone for all the well wishes. The garden helper and I are still getting over this wretched virus. It has been almost 2 weeks and we are still coughing and sniffling but we don’t have a fever (that lasted 5 days) and our strength is returning almost to normal. It meant a lot to know so many of you were sending healing thoughts.
Next up on the blog: Next Monday it will be time for another Gardens Eye Journal. I will be highlighting what is going on in the garden especially the veg garden. It has been under cover for 6 weeks now in all this cold. What surprises are in store for me, I am not sure I want to know.
I will be linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme. It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Wednesday.
As always, I’ll be joining Tootsie Time’s Fertilizer Friday.
I hope you will join me for my posts, every other Tuesday, at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. I had to trim back my time blogging so I am back to every other Tuesday.
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