Stop worrying about a late freeze
Posted: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 8:52 pm
By: By Jimmy Williams
Here it is April, the cruelest month, it has been called. Well, soft April days can certainly turn cruel on occasion. More often, it is April nights that bring on a gardener’s nightmares.
We have short memories, but most of us recall the Easter freeze of four years ago. The mercury on Easter morning in early April bottomed out at 14 degrees in the hinterlands and around 20 in urban areas. Whatever, it was a disaster of considerable proportions. Japanese maples and crape myrtles took it on the chin. Some of those maples went down for the count, but most recovered in a maimed state to the point they’re just now presentable.
So we’re not out of the woods yet as far as winter conditions are concerned, though astronomical winter is well past. I won’t breathe easy until buzzard winter, the last of the spring winters, is past in May.
February, once it was half gone, and March, brought some agreeable and growth-inducing weather, with a couple of record highs. The inordinate warmth in mid-March condensed spring magnolia bloom into just a few days. Ditto some of the late daffodils. Sharp, warm winds can wither them in a heartbeat.
Spring in our part of the world isn’t known for dallying, It can be here and gone before you can say Jack Robinson. Since it is the favorite season of most gardeners, we feel cheated when we hear of the slow, lingering springs enjoyed in places like the British Isles and the Pacific Northwest of our own country. On the other hand, just let us go from a week of 80-degree temperatures back to the low 60s (where they really should be) and the howls go up from all corners. The lamentation mantra is “where did spring go?” It didn’t go anywhere. It was simply resetting.
In fact, we should draw up in a knot when inordinate warmth appears in late winter or early spring. It simply sets the stage for disasters like that of 2007. Sap rises, leaves unfurl and there sit the hapless (woody) victims, helplessly awaiting the executioner’s ax. It comes in the form of those 20-degree temperatures, which wreak infinitely more havoc than they would have if the excess warmth hadn’t made its appearance.
It would do us better to roll with the punches and enjoy what we can while we can and stop dwelling on what might have been if we had taken that job in Seattle 20 years ago.
From Poor Willie’s Almanack — Re: “How To Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie.
Editor’s note: Jimmy Williams is production superintendent at The Paris Post-Intelligencer, where he also writes this column.
Published in The Messenger 4.12.11
Jimmy Williams, The Garden Path