Is it Spring Already?

Not quite.

It’s snowing again and more is forecast this afternoon.

Thankfully it’s not heavy like two weeks ago and is only settling in tiny, icy drifts as it is just too windy for anything substantial to stay on the ground.

The bitter wind-chill is -18°C / -1°F, and, coupled with the actual air temperature still below freezing at midday, it is particularly unpleasant outside.

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Icy snow crystals. I’m sure the Inuit have a word for this wind-blown stuff. I have to post this to prove it is still winter as the following pictures look like mid-spring!

But try telling that to some parts of the garden!


In the little sheltered microclimates I have created with fences, under tall evergreens and by enclosing spaces around outbuildings – and mulching all garden beds –  has meant that spring has started in a few select spots in the garden.

Even on a frigid day like today, stepping into these parts of the garden is noticeably warmer; the howling gale is reduced to a noisy breeze and the wind-blown snow hasn’t settled…here I can actually take my gloves off to press the I-pad camera button.

While the rest of the garden is still grey, brown and still stuck in winter, these little micro-climates really lift the spirits and extend the spring blooming season ahead for months!

So here it is….pictures from the most sheltered parts of the garden, that make a liar of my assertions that it is still cold :-).

First up, little dwarf Narcissi ‘Little Gem’ :

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Narcissus ‘Little Gem’ near an emerging Spanish Bluebell

Narcissus ‘Erlicheer’:

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Narcissus ‘Erlicheer’

The brilliant yellows certainly brighten any dreary day.

Muscari armeniacum in this area have also punched through the chill with their precious little jewel-like grapes:

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Muscari armeniacum

 Primulas are starting to put on a great display; first is the annual candelabra variety:

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Primula malacoides

The more traditional, Primula vulgaris also joins in. This cultivar is ‘High Tea Drumcliff’ it has fabulous deep green leaves:

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Primula vulgaris ‘High Tea Drumcliff’

Ipheon uniflorum – which started flowering over a month ago, is really doing well in this part of the garden. Other clumps elsewhere have not even begun to stir, so it will be great to get months of these delicate blue beauties:

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Ipheon uniflorum

A little Nemesia aromatica plug that I planted in autumn has started to perform; it normally smells lovely, but the air is too cold to enjoy the perfume today:

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Nemesia aromatica

The same goes for the Daphne odora in this sheltered, warm part of the garden. Even though its first flowers have opened, the chill makes it impossible to smell anything:

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Daphne odora

Helleborus are heralding the end of winter. These were all put in as tiny plugs last year, so it is really heartening to see them start to flower so soon:

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Helleborus niger

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Helleborus niger

But some warm microclimates weren’t created by me. I’ve just taken advantage of them. The front of the house faces due North and gets all-day sun.

Unlike the siding of the rest of the house, the basement wall is brick, and I’ve painted it a dark colour to ensure as much heat as possible is retained.

It works a treat, and I get roses blooming in mid-winter on bare branches:

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Climbing Iceberg Roses and Osteospermums love this warm, sheltered spot

It’s quite an odd thing to see, but I’m rather warming to it 🙂

Happy Gardening!

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51 thoughts on “Is it Spring Already?

  1. Your post gladden my heart, Matt; it gives me hope that I can create some micro-climates that are less hot than the rest of the garden. I am still surprised when I read the a wall facing north catches all the sun, so strange to someone who has always lived in the northern hemisphere.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Christina! (That’s why I added the words ‘gets all day sun’ as I knew most readers would be scratching their heads at the idea of a North-facing wall 🙂
      I’ve planted quite a number of deciduous trees on the western boundary to try and make a cooler micro-climate in the summer garden. Even though summers aren’t hot here (most days never make it past 22C), the hot summer sun can scorch some of the more tender plants I eventually want to grow. But that will take a few more years to realise!

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    • It’s always so cheery to see the first signs of spring! The osteospermums only survive because the soil is so sandy and free-draining….they make a good addition as the other shrubs fill out 🙂

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  2. Lovely to see your spring flowers, it’s amazing what a bit of shelter does in the garden. The first thing we did here was to plant shelter belts because the garden was open to all the cold north and east winds. Love your Little Gem narcissus, such a nice shape.

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    • The sheltered areas and windbreaks are absolutely essential if you don’t want to battle nature all the time. We have bitter westerly and southwesterly winds here in the garden which have actually bent and twisted some of the old trees over time!

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  3. I had no idea you got so cold, your cold temps are harsher than ours, as we rarely reach15 F. Late winter is a beautiful time I think and so hopeful, too, looking towards spring. Love your nemesia; I’ll be looking for it here.

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    • Thanks! The last couple of days have been very cold. I guess it’s winter’s last hurrah before spring! I got the nemesia from seed packets and it seems to be quite cold-tolerant

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  4. What a “spring tonic” your lovely flowers are on this hot humid day! 🙂 But amazing that you are once again getting snow.

    I’d never heard of Nemesia aromatica so I googled it. Apparantly it’s actually Nemesia fructicans, “Aromatica series”, available in various colors although blue would be my choice. Did you grow yours from seed? Curious because Ball Seed Co. has it on their website, but the USA-based site Dave’s Garden says that ‘Aromatica Royal Blue’ is sterile/does not set seed. So I’m confused, lol.

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    • Thanks! We normally have about 6-12 snow falls a year, of which 1 is severe enough to be disruptive for an extended period; winter this year is closer to the long term average and has taken most by surprise!
      I think you are right about the Nemesia being N. fruticans: I got mine as a free packet of seeds with the lupins I ordered: they were a couple of years past their use-by and I guess the grower just threw them in – they were simply marked as Nemesia aromatica (which is what they seem to be called in Australia). I only had about 5 germinate from the 20 seeds; and this was the only one that survived to flower…I’d love to know exactly what variety it is, as it appears to be more purple than anything else! I’ll try and keep this one going by cuttings as it is quite lovely 🙂

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  5. Happy Gardening to you too! When I stop by I am always astounded at how many plants you have and how you care for them so well:-) Everything looks so well cared for and it seems you never have weeds. I have a wild looking garden but that is due to lack of space and things don’t have a lot of places to go. LOL Your garden is a like a museum of plants-I always learn something new and see something new:-) Beautiful micro-climates!

    It is so strange to think you are in spring and we are in autumn…fun in a way, for I can get inspired for spring blooms as I take a tour through your lovely garden:-) Will be placing a few more bulb orders after seeing your garden!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Robbie – the garden is only 1/4 acre, so it is easily manageable, but because I have had to do so much clearing, everything is new and weed-free. By summer, that all changes!
      I love looking at your spring blogs in our autumn – I do all of my bulb ordering that way…it’s the best reminder I have!

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      • The whole block is just 1/4 acre (with the house as well) It is only a little cottage and takes up about 1400 sqft of the land. I think because the garden is steep, but has fantastic views it always feels bigger than it is 🙂

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  6. Pretty cold down here too still. We had actual snow in our area on Monday. Unheard of! All of the surrounding mountains are white and its very pretty but we are REALLY glad we have a huge woodburning stove in our kitchen. Brunhilda is doing us proud and we are racing between house and “everything else” to get back to house again and her delicious basking warmth. We have daffies and jonquils and daphne and the ash has been in leaf for over a month now but still the cold goes on. I am not complaining as pretty soon it is going to heat up. Not my favourite time of the year. Excellent microclimate creation by the way and watch those osteospermums, they are like chicken pox. You get one, the whole neighbourhood has them 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know, I saw the picture of Hobart – back to the winters of the 1980’s! I hope you post some pics soon 🙂
      Thankfully the osteospermums don’t invade up here as it’s too cold for them; they are invasive in the lower mountains and you see the white/blue variety everywhere 😦

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      • We must be the equivalent of the lower mountains here in Northern Tasmania, as the osteospermums are EVERYWHERE. I hated them at first, but they are better than blackberries 😉

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  7. It’s pretty cold here too, Matt; even in Sydney (6ºC – 17ºC today) but we had 26º C the other day. Yes, all my deciduous trees are budding leaves and the citrus trees are in flower; in fact everything is in flower and it looks like spring.

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    • 26C? Wow!
      I ventured as far as Penrith two weekends ago for furniture shopping and nearly expired in what I though was hot at 19C (while all of the locals were wearing jackets and jumpers) 🙂

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    • Thanks – the muscari is in such a sheltered spot that it blooms nice and early (the other muscari in the garden are only just starting to send up their green shoots in time for mid-spring flowers). The primula is one of my favourites, but sadly is only ephemeral – although it is easy to grow from seeds and is almost always available in nurseries as seedling trays at this time of year

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  8. I’ll send you some of my Texas warmth, if you’ll send me some of your cool. 🙂 You have lots blooming, all so pretty, but I especially like the pheon uniflorum. Is it a bulb?

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    • Thanks Tina! If we did a swap it would probably level out at 60F which is just perfect 🙂
      The ipheon is a lovely little bulb that naturalises easily if it’s happy (it’s common name here is spring star) The other ones in the garden are just getting ready to start blooming, so it was lovely to get a jump on it in these sheltered spots

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  9. What wonderful little touches of spring you’ve tucked away to tide you through winter! I need to find a way to create some of those myself to keep summer at bay (without planting trees that will send my bothersome neighbor on another campaign).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! It’s a good little trick, especially in areas like mine which aren’t buried under snow for months at a time. But even in heavy snow areas, a south/south-east facing corner at the foundation of a house can be used to similar effect

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  10. Debra says:

    SNOW?!?!?! and spring blossoms! Oh, this is a breath of frresh air. Our heat index is now well over 100 degrees F. Thank you so very very much. (Though I do hope it gets milder soon for you.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Debra! There is a bit more forecast this week (they are saying chance of flurries) which is alright by me. We can get snow up until mid-October….but thankfully the hard frosts end by September!
      I hope your weather starts to cool soon!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Peter! The blooms are lovely while it is still chilly, but with the days getting longer and another snowfall yesterday, I think the worst of the winter weather will be behind us…

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  11. Matt, I missed this post, probably Freudian, as the ‘feels like” temperatures here have been running almost 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
    I should arrive there shortly to visit your weed free garden to cool off. That means you have to come here and weed, of course, no matter when, we always have weeds..loved the dark Hellebores and the bulbs- hot north facing slopes..still freaking me out!!

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    • You should definitely swap hemispheres! (Although summer here is like your winter). And boy, do I know what weeding in the tropics is like. If you try to pull a weed it bites you, and then jumps back in the ground, grows fifteen more feet, and another set of fangs to bite you a second time just for good measure!

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