Spring arrivals

thegardener's picture
a white flower with three main petals
a ladybug on a branch
a 'coto-nea-ster' branch with issues

Moisture and warm temperatures allow our early plants to emerge (5o C is the typical start for growth for many plants), but it is the soil temperature at root level that is critical for spring revival. With plants that do not have chive-like leaves, (monocots) differentiating the good guys from the bad guys can be difficult at this stage as the first leaves on many broad leaved plants (dicots) are different from the later leaves. It is worthwhile to protect one, and remove the other. Defining weeds as plants that are “too successful” includes lots to our attention, apart from the weeds defined by the province or the city. One perennial I have that self-seeds is a real pain … I got it from a friend (!) a couple of decades ago and have now been trying to eradicate it for fifteen years. It is the Greater Celandine or Chelidonium majus: it has beautiful bright yellow flowers but is impossible to control. I like control. One feature of such over-successful plants is their ability to seed early in the season. Chickweed does not flower early but is great at flowering secretly and seeding and germinating very quickly.
Plants I want to encourage bring me joy: early flowering hepatica - you may know it as liver-leaf; Iceland poppies, bergenia, columbines are all re-appearing now, as well as early bulbs such as snowdrops.
I enjoy seeing the emerging buds on shrubs too: buds from various forms of elderberry shrubs are swelling in late March this year, as well as buds on sour cherry trees. Remember to prune some twigs off if you want to have some greenery or small flowers in your home – and to check your cotoneaster for oyster scale, but don’t worry too much if you find coral spot fungus (nectria canker) - it is not scale, but a fungus that lives mainly on dead twigs, evidence that there has been some damage or the hedge is too crowded in the centre. In one photo you can see a native two-spotted ladybug near oyster scale.

gw, March 22 2016