Weather Whiplash In The Garden

In several recent posts I have discussed the glacial (pun intended) pace of spring this past April. On Tuesday and Wednesday, though, temperatures suddenly jumped up to the upper 80s (about 30 degrees Celsius for you foreign types). On Monday morning, it was in the 40s and spring was just sitting in the corner, timidly raising its hand and waiting to be called on. By Wednesday, spring was parading around in a bright Hawaiian shirt of many colors, shouting in a powerful baritone that it was in the house.

Virginia Bluebells with Brunnera (False-Forget-Me-Not) in the background.

This sudden change has left plants and gardeners a little disoriented, though not unpleasantly. Getting out of my car upon my return home on Wednesday, I was dazzled by all the new blooms.


Plants currently in flower can be roughly divided into two groups. There are those that would normally have bloomed weeks ago, like the Forsythia above, now blooming at the beginning of May.


The Hellebores (Helleborus orientalis) have been blooming for a while, but they do so now with pent-up vigor.


And the Daffodils that had been holding back due to the cold have now jumped in with both feet.


I’m not showing many Daffodils now because I’m planning another post focused solely on them later this week.DSC_0003

A suddenly accelerated spring makes me anxious about missing some of the more fleeting seasonal beauties. In a couple of days, most of the Bloodroot (Sanguineria canadensis) flowers bloomed and faded before I knew it. Judy was able to get a pic of this one Bloodroot flower peaking from behind a leaf.



‘Keizerskroon’ is normally a Tulip that blooms in early April, but here we are in May.


The second group of plants normally bloom in May. They, too, have the look of people who have been rushing to make up for lost time. Above is the first pot of ‘Princess Irene’ Tulips to bloom this year. They seem shorter than normal.


Sadly, our blast of heat caused the bloom period of some spring flowers to end prematurely. Tulipa turkestanica, for example, and Siberian Squill (Scilla sibirica).  Fortunately, Tulipa dasystemon has stepped into the breech. This is another Species Tulip that naturalizes in my garden. It’s similar to T. turkestanica except that it has a larger yellow center and the foliage is more grass-like.


T. dasystemon, Daffodils, and an unknown red Tulip bloom together in the Parkway Bed.


A few days ago, Great Merrybells (Uvularia grandiflora) was just an inch or two out of the ground. Now look.


Same with Celandine Poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum).


I was certainly glad to see Clove Currant (Ribes odoratum) come suddenly into bloom, sharing its spicy-sweet scent with all who pass.

Have you or your garden been suffering from Weather Whiplash?

41 Comments on “Weather Whiplash In The Garden”

  1. I don’t know if I’d call it whiplash, but gardeners and wildflower seekers alike suddenly are talking about how quickly things seem to be moving. It seems as though more than the usual number of plants are taking on the characteristics of more traditional spring ephemerals. It’s very much a now you see it, now you don’t, kind of experience.

    Your flowers are just glorious. It makes me happy just to sit here and look at them.

  2. Lovely to look at your blossoming spring bulbs & plants …even if they are in a hurry, & who can blame them! The Clove Current looks pretty & with a spicy sweet scent … Wish I could smell that one. Enjoy the warmer weather.

  3. Yes, many things are late this year. But the heatwave while we were away pushed everything to flower. It’s cooled down so the perfect temperature to enjoy the garden. Princess Irene is always short for me and was in Holland too.

  4. Tulips are all shorter than I’ve ever seen them, but blooming more strongly than in recent years. We had a small warm-up in late March followed by the coldest April in decades — lots of freeze damage to plants that put on new growth then. The last three days of 90F hot wind have pushed everything along faster than ideal, so I’m extremely ready for the predicted week of “normal” temperatures and possible rain. Never before had Pulmonaria still in bloom when the bearded iris start flowering…

  5. Just wow. They look great and, if you hadn’t said anything, I would never know they were late or that some quit blooming early. I love the look of the clove currant.

  6. It’s veeeerrrrryyy ssssllloooowww here. Tulips are up and finally blossoming, our new forsythia twigs have 1, maybe 2 yellow flowers between the 6 of them. It’s just slow, and I’m slow to warming up and planting things everyone gets all a twitter about now. I’ll hit the garden stores next week after Mom’s day. There will be plenty left, and the ground will be a bit warmer.

  7. Yes, this has been the spring with the highest highs and lowest lows. I think our daffs and tulips bloomed for the longest time. Now that the iris are beginning they are being cooked so they aren’t lasting so long sadly. I won’t give up on them. They will be back next year.

  8. Yes, weird weather here too but gorgeous right now. The tulips didn’t last long. I love Tulip dasystemon, I have never seen it before. I remember admiring your Uvularia grandiflora before, mine never looks as good as this.

  9. Hello Jason, we’ve had the same here where temperatures rocketed for several days before dropping again. It was enough to shock the garden into flowering and we’ve had flowering combinations that just wouldn’t happen in a “normal” year.

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