Which isn’t to say that anything is broken, in need of fixing. I just don’t ever remember magnolias blooming before the forsythia. Saucer magnolias are out all over town, our hedge of M. x loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’ by the parking lot started up last week and even our star magnolia along the front drive, which is notoriously late, is beginning to open from the top down. The cherry trees and tulips – early ones like ‘Analita’ – can’t seem to hold their horses either.
The weather is a little out of sequence too but we cynical optimists expected that. We’re short on rain – I’ve heard we’re about 5″ down from normal. And last weeks summer-ish temps were followed last night by a bitter chill. Luckily it was too windy for frost to settle so all is well but one flat of shocked pansies. And they’ll recover. As much as we’d like to worry about fruit trees being wiped out, the Providence Journal reported that the apples are fine too. Early peaches and plum buds might have taken a hit but the orchardist they interviewed didn’t seem too upset about it. He said he won’t have to do as much thinning later.
Even though all the books will say that transplanting and dividing is best done before the forsythia and daffodils come into peak bloom, you haven’t missed your chance by any means. Go to it and keep at it. Just make sure you give everything a good drink to help it settle in. If you have (prematurely) set out tender plants to harden off, bring them back inside or cover them with a sheet tonight because if the wind dies down overnight like it’s supposed to, they could get nipped. If you forget to cover them, spray them with the hose first thing in the morning.
If you want to catch the exact moment of daffodil peak here at Blithewold, this chilly weather is your friend. They’re really really close now and should hang tight through the weekend at least. The mansion opens for the season and Daffodil Days on April 1!