Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Daffodil Craziness

The daffodils in my yard are telling me all about the warm winter we've had. Not only are they up - they are in bloom. I took this picture last week and am only getting around to posting it today, but even if these daffodils were just now blooming, it would be early.

This particular variety, which has been in my yard for at least a couple of decades, usually blooms sometime in February, often nearer the middle of the month.

In 2010, my Feb. 1 blog post titled "Daffodils don't lie" included a photo of daffodils emerging from the soil, but the plants were still short and the buds tightly furled. That year, the daffodils were telling about a winter that was somewhat cooler than this 2011-12 winter.

The garlic is looking especially healthy, too. I don't think I've ever seen it looking this robust in my yard at the end of January.

I have been following the cycle of bloom for flowers in my yard over the past year more closely than in previous years, partly to determine its usefulness as a tool to tell me about the timing of planting. Using the cycle of bloom as a planting or chore calendar is a common old-timey method of scheduling such chores (example: prune roses when the forsythia bloom).

My longtime planting rule that follows the blooming of a particular flower in my yard is that I plant my English peas when the trout lilies bloom in my yard, and that has ended up being in or near the last week in February.

Those flowers seem to have a firmer internal calendar than the daffodils; their leaves are not yet up, but the leaves of the toothwort are. Although I am sure that they are not paying attention to the crazy daffodils, the toothwort may be responding to soil temperature in a similar way.

Last week, I decided to indulge in a little daffodil-craziness of my own by planting a patch of peas almost a full month sooner than normal. If we have a hard freeze and I lose my little crop, I have plenty of time to replant, but I want to know if I can rely on what else the daffodils are saying - that spring is just around the corner.

I suppose I could have waited a few days to find out what the groundhogs have to say about the coming of spring, or waited for the trout lilies as I have done for years, but, like many gardeners, I'm a little impatient. And - if I get peas earlier than usual, the hour spent outside in the garden planting those peas will have paid off even more than as just the hour of exercise that I'm currently counting it as.


  1. Looks great! Now I definitely must get out there and clean up the dead stuff so my bulbs will be noticed when they pop their heads up LOL! I admit I'm thinking of doing peas a couple weeks early too :)

  2. I probably should have put "finish the clean up" ahead of "plant," but preparing a bed and putting in the seeds seemed like so much more fun. Glad I'm not the only one who's thought to put the peas in early, but it's possible I'm the only one impatient enough to follow through!

    Hope your knitting adventures (re your recent blog posts) continue to be fun!

  3. Peas can take a bit of frost, I plant in the fall for spring - no scientific rules anymore only going with the flow - loves it - peace

  4. January has been cruel and teasing to gardeners - making us think it is spring. I hope we don't get frozen in February! I keep trying to block off a day(this afternoon was on my calendar but alas - rain moved in early) to pull out my finished brussel sprouts (harvested the last of them Sunday), spread the compost from the bottom of the heap into that bed so it will be ready for the English peas, radishes, and broccoli. My seed orders are placed and I "yearn" for fresh veggies! A vase full of my early daffodils sits on my desk and I truly am enjoying them.

  5. Ruth - Peas do withstand some frost, but I am not sure of the lowest temperature a newly germinated pea can survive. Usually, more mature plants can tolerate lower temperatures than plant-babies, and we do often get some extremely cold weather in February and sometimes in March. We will see what happens!

    I just read an article about the rest of Canada's winter (I know - it's nowhere near Georgia) that said it is expected to follow its current "warmer than usual" trend all the way into spring. I don't know how likely it is that north Georgia's weather will do the same - but I can hope!

    Barbara - Yes, the rain has definitely arrived. Got my groceries into the house while it was still just sprinkling - thank goodness! I always have trouble fitting the garden chores in, too. Spring rains don't help, except that good rains now mean there will be less need for watering later. I will be glad to start the spring with fully-recharged soil after having been behind on rain last year.

    Haven't placed my seed order yet, but I am getting closer. The decisions are never easy. I usually start out with a huge list that I have to whittle down to better match the size of my garden.

    Hope the weather cooperates with your garden-clean-up plans soon, so you can get that bed ready for the next cool-weather crops!

    Thank you both for stopping by and taking the time to write! -Amy

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