March 11, 2010


No! Not Yet !

We had the warmest day of the year in Chicago yesterday - a balmy 62 degrees. Even though I have an awful cold I just had to venture out and feel the sun on my back. It didn't make an appearance until late afternoon but it was enough to make me think that Spring would be early this year.

I had to look hard to see the bulbs that are peeking their heads above the ground and I wanted to shout : Not yet, my pretties, it's far too early. As a seasoned gardener I have known the heartbreak of seeing a hard freeze damage emerging Spring bloomers. Two years ago my 'Betty ' magnolia was frozen in bud and I thought she was done for, but miraculously she survived.

We are not past the danger point in Chicago until the middle or end of May so I have learned to be patient, and prepared. When early warmth causes the plants to come up prematurely and be subjected to a hard freeze I protect them with shredded mulch. Garden centers now carry mesh covers for shrubs and small trees that need covering during Spring frosts/freeze and I now use them to protect my early-blooming Asian Pear and the 'Betty ' magnolia .

While I always enjoy each and every day of sunshine I also worry that our Canadian friends will send us a blast of wintry weather to remind us that it ain't over yet.

The older I get the more I want to fly South with the birds. When friends down South tell me they had a bad winter I do sympathize with them ( for about a minute ) but then I know that it will go away as quickly as it came. If you've survived a Chicago, Minneapolis or Canadian winter then you know how rough it is.

We have hope now that the end is near and another gardening season is about to begin. May is certainly the stuff that dreams are made of.

Written by Carolyngail at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago
All rights reserved


  1. I had to really restrain myslef yesterday not to uncover too much. The leaves were so black and heavy even though I had raked in the fall. I just wanted to get them off the plants. I took off the heaviest, but the ground is still frozen underneath.


  2. I was just out in the garden and saw all sorts of flowers popping up and about to bloom! The irises and African Daisies are open to bloom! I was so excited. Seems that they came out of no where!

  3. It has been such a funny early spring-like time, but I know the New England climate too well, and remain deeply suspicious :)

  4. Carolyn, I promise to do my part and keep whatever wintry winds may come our way right here in the east. :) Actually, we've had a run of days that certainly hint of Spring, though our risk-of-frost dates are similar to yours, usually mid-May. It certainly is encouraging to see those tulips and other harbingers peeking through!

  5. Carolyn,
    Here in NC it is spring already. I have seen 3 different butterflies already. But we still d not have any daffodils blooming yet.

    Hope spring comes in quickly there!

  6. Some of my daffys and sedum made an appearance a couple days ago here in zone 4. The weather will do whatever it pleases and I try real hard to accept what it's delivering without complaining. Not easy to do sometimes.


  7. Thank you! While I may be just as excited to see the growth as anyone, I'm not pulling off my leaf mulch for a little while, yet. Too early.

  8. Oh yes, the Lusty Month of May, my favorite!


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