What's Blooming Now - Late Winter 2012
It's Early Days, But the Zoo and Gardens are Already Blooming!
gardeners, we are worried if our plants are going to suffer or possibly die
after being tricked by Mother Nature into thinking it was time to kick it
into growing mode? I feel very comfortable telling you that everything
is going to be okay!
blooms are you seeing in your yard? Here at White River Gardens and the
Indianapolis Zoo we have spotted just a few- some early crocuses, witchhazel,
Lenten rose, daffodils and winter aconite. There are beautiful snow
drops in multiple locations, especially on the path on the Zoo side that
leads toward the Party Pavilion tent. These guys are all late winter
to early spring bloomers, so are adapted to getting their petals nipped
after they bloom. Though the Lenten roses (Helleborus orientalis)
have really been off their usual late March to early April bloom schedule
(we have had clumps blooming in the Zoo and Gardens since December), they
should do fine, barring some kind of Arctic-like freeze yet this winter.
Luckily, the cold that has hit us has actually not been extreme, so plants
are able to take it quite well.
of people have daffodils coming up, and maybe a few are actually blooming
here and there. Other bulb leaves are popping up early, too. The return of
colder weather will brown many leaves, but those bulbs, still protected by
the earth, will not die. Mainly we can expect to see fewer blooms at their
normal time because of buds that were damaged by the cold and the fact that
some are already done blooming.
What about the perennials, trees and shrubs we see leaves and buds on? If
they are plants that are native to cold climates, especially to our own
area, they, too, are used to changes in temperature during the winter. Many
trees and shrubs have to go through a certain amount of cold before those
buds get the signal to start opening, and we haven’t had enough cold to move
that process along.
If they are non-native plants from areas with more mild conditions, they
might lose the flowers and leaves that are trying to emerge too soon. But
they, like the fresh green foliage that can be seen poking up from the
ground at the base of some perennials, will surely grow new leaves later on.
Also of concern are plants that undergo heaving, that is they pop up pretty
high out of the ground due to the actions of freezing and thawing soil.
Adding some extra mulch around those too-high and eager-to-grow plants can
help keep them safe, but be sure to pull that protection away from the
plants once spring really and truly arrives.
So try not to fret! Both plants and animals (including us humans) are going
to make it through this crazy winter to bloom and grow in the warmth of