Spring weather in Iowa has been challenging, to say the least. But the garden has produced some nice surprises.
Courtesy of Craig Summers Black
This is whiplash weather in Iowa. The temperature soars. Then – wham! – it plunges radically. The garden and I are really getting jerked around. And Mother Nature’s plan? Rinse and repeat.
After a short period of ab-fab balmy days, some of the veggies and tropicals went toes-up when it got down way below freezing.
Then the weather turns around and soars to a record high – 97! – with a never-ending wind so fearsome it's sapping the flowering bulbs and shredding the magnolias.
Then a week of more wind and rain, rain, rain. Last night: In the 30s again.
I know: Complain, complain, complain. Sorry.
So let me count my blessings:
• The Elizabeth magnolia that I planted last year to replace the Butterflies lost in a late hard freeze, sailed through the winter and promptly bloomed. The flowers were a deeper hue than I was expecting, and I am glad of it. Also: I hate to wait 10 years for Butterflies’ first blossoms, so this first-year flowering is quite the bonus.
• The wisteria [see photo above] – also in the horseshoe driveway – that I have been training as a standard finally bloomed, no mean trick hereabouts, but it has been a 15-year wait. And I am not a patient guy. However: Oh, happy day!
• Likewise, the five-leaf chocolate vine (Akebia quinata), now blooming quite spectacularly in a purple-leaf maple tree. I always liked how the vine’s green foliage snaked brightly up through the dark maple leaves, but now– after, what, 10 years? – the bazillion quarter-sized flowers echo the maple leaf color. And right outside the front door. [See second photo at top; click on arrow at right base of first photo.]