A beautifully unusual spring

With over 230 posts published on this blog, I need to review them once in a while so that I may make an effort to not talk about the same plant or general topic too frequently. One topic that has come up many times over the years is the long, cold and wet winter and spring seasons we normally have in this part of the Pacific Northwest.

Beautiful little cones seem to pop up randomly on the spreading, Abies koreana ‘Blauer Pfiff’.
Fresh new foliage of Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’ emerges with a hint of copper/bronze which fades to light green. Tiny flower cluster dangle below new leaves and slow transform into hairy, winged seeds.

Ever since the last week of March, we have had a very unusual spring. Although we have had plenty of rain, it hasn’t been the constant cold, gray downpour with rare and occasional sun-breaks. This spring we have enjoyed several warm and sunny days along with some cool and dry days which only included a brief shower or two. One of those days took me by surprise when the brief shower turned into a downpour of hail, but our hail is usually only about the size of a BB pellet, so it was just an annoyance and not a danger.

Incredible deep, rich, purple cones highlight the soft blue foliage of Picea englemanii ‘Fritsche’ in early spring. Soon, the fresh, bright blue foliage will emerge on this majestic, vigorous weeping tree.

Thanks to this great spring weather, I have been able to spend a tremendous amount of time in my garden. Here we are, in the later part of April, and I have most of my garden clean-up chores completed. I’ve planted several new dwarf conifers (some of which were mentioned a few posts back), I’ve prepared the raised beds of my dedicated veggie and herb garden, weeding is under control and perhaps what I am most excited about — the garden is coming alive with all the wonderful signs of spring!

My Japanese maples have exploded into full spring color; most of my cultivars within the Picea glauca family have a healthy start to their new push of foliage; cultivars of Cedrus deodara are pushing their bright new foliage tips; all of my pines are beginning to extend their new candle growth; and tiny colorful cones are beginning to emerge in this new season of the reproduction process. Even the first of my newly grafted plants is beginning to break bud!

After several years in a row of long, cold, wet, gray springs — which delayed plant growth by an additional week or two every consecutive year — it is very nice to enjoy a real spring-time season. But, keeping a sense of reality, this is the Pacific Northwest, so even though our spring is delightful, our area seems to always balance out, and I expect we may have a cooler, wetter summer — but who really knows — this is the weather I’m talking about!

I hope that wherever you are, springtime is near!

Conifer Lover

Please enjoy these additional photos by R.C.Smith, provided by my friends at Iseli Nursery!

12 thoughts on “A beautifully unusual spring

  1. You probably don’t remember but, over a year or 2 ago I told you I have been trying to get a “Betty Rose” unsuccessfully…i called it Betsy and you corrected me. Well, I had to tell you, I got 2 Betty Roses about 2 weeks ago. My local Garden Center guy(Anthony) has been trying for over 2yrs…putting it on his orders and following up with phone calls asking pls pls send a Betty Rose. This year 2 were on the truck from Isli’s he said…someone listened !! Isn’t that wonderful?…They are so beautiful !! All my mini’s are in containers and are a joy !! Just wanted to share this:-)


    1. Hi Mary – I do remember – I am so happy for you, you are obviously quite excited! I am sure that you will enjoy them for many years to come. I am glad that neither you nor Anthony gave up trying. :^)


  2. Ed
    Glad to hear you have had a nice spring. We have as well which is very unusual. I have planted two dwarf conifers recently and love them. I purchased Picea mariana ‘Blue Tear Drop’ and Pinus parviflora ‘Pent Azuma’ from our local nurseryman who happens to be a good friend. I believe they would be wonderful selections to anyone’s conifer garden. I always look forward to your blogs. Thanks


    1. Thank you Gene! I’ll need to look up those two cultivars, I think I’ve seen ‘Blue Tear Drop’ online somewhere, but I dont recall ‘Pent Azuma’. I’m glad you’re enjoying your conifers!


  3. Ed Our spring has been just the opposite, cold rain to no end and the plants are just now coming back to life. It’s better than last years early warm spell followed by a cold snap that froze all the buds and new growth, but couldn’t we get some warm, sunny spring days?


    1. I really do feel your pain! I’ve felt that way the past several years. This is such a nice change – I’m working outside in just a long sleeved t-shirt – in April! Wow.


  4. Ed, Who wouldn’t want a tree with purple cones on it?? Spring in CT has been much more ‘normal’ than we’re used to. At this time last year, it had been 80 degrees for weeks. Now we have 40 degree days followed by 60 degree days. A typical NE spring that seems to be confusing the residents more than the plants.


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