African Garden + winter

It Always Snows in April: Last Week at Squirrelhaven
Pulsatilla vulgaris

Snow was falling when I awoke this morning, which, while not welcome, will not be long lasting. I've been waiting for this other proverbial shoe to drop, as it is a statistical certainty that it will snow at some point in April in Chicagoland. It usually isn't this late. Last week, the grass greened up so it looked like spring, even if it hasn't felt like it. From too hot the week before to too cold last week (30ยบ below normal), April is acting like April.

I'm so excited; for the very first time the redbud (Cercis canadensis) is going to bloom. This is quite a feat, as the tiny sapling was completely uprooted by the squirrels shortly after I planted it.

The buds remind me of the fleshy fruits inside a pomegranate. Too bad the flowers won't be that color.

Had the high today not been in the 30sF/around 1C, the flowering quince (Chaenomeles species) would probably have bloomed.

The Magnolia stellata is also about to bloom. I can't ever remember it being this late, even in the awful spring of 1997. But that may be because it has only a handful of buds. The scale attacks of the last few years have severely weakened it.

Let's think about something more pleasant now, the blooming of the doubled flowered rue anemone, Thalictrum thalictroides 'Cameo'.

The flowers remind me of tiny waterlilies.

One of the neatest native wildflowers has sprouted.

mayapple sprout

When open, the foliage of Podophyllum peltatum looks like an umbrella. Mayapples truly aren't suited to the small garden, as they spread by vigorous stolons. Every year I have to take a shovel to the paths lining the bed to restrain them.

The stupid male cottonwood tree has started dropping its sticky flower casings and messy flowers all over the garden. That red thing in the above photo is one of the flowers. I spend literally hours every spring picking up the casings, as they stain clothes and get tracked into the house stuck to the bottom of shoes. Someday, that tree will be taken down.

Finally, a bit of fun. The downspout on the front of the house had been swinging loose and getting blown off, so I solved the problem by ditching the downspout and getting a rain chain. It's cheap ($25) faux-copper verdigris from Tuesday Morning.

Thanks goes to Mary Ann of Gardens of the Wild, Wild West for suggesting putting a pot under the rain chain. The pot is frost-proof ceramic, which will be turned upside down for winter. I think a larger pot would be even better in case of torrential downpours.

Next week is the last week of April, hard to believe as that may be with March level temperatures now, but really, it's got to change soon. Time to pull out the shorts.

art, better, blooming, Cercis canadensis, Chaenomeles, flowers, garden, house, Mayapple, plant, quince Podophyllum, rain chain, Redbud, Spring, thalictroides, Thalictrum thalictroides Cameo, time, water, wildflower, and more:

It Always Snows in April: Last Week at Squirrelhaven + winter