Saturday, March 4, 2017

Dayton "Dirt" - March 3, 2017


With February now past with its record high temperatures, March is traditionally the month that comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.  Strangely though, February mostly went out like a lamb with temperatures and sun feeling like spring when it even isn’t spring!  Sadly, many spring flowering bulbs have awakened early along with the swelling of the buds of some trees and shrubs as they have been “fooled” that it’s time to awaken.

At the nursery, deer have nibbled at some emerging tulips already when usually the plants are sprayed with a deer repellent called Deer Stopper in late March.  The Valley Forge American Elm next to the Owl Barn is already getting ready to bloom which soon after will be followed by the dropping of the protective bud scales and then the emergence of leaves.

Inside the well-ventilated winter storage huts, Hydrangea Endless Summer, Bloomstruck and other large-leaved types are opening with leaves even though temperatures in the huts drop to the outside air temperatures at night which has been in the 30's.  Interesting too is that bright sunshine has caused such high generation of electricity in the newly installed solar panels that about 16 kilowatts per hour are being produced by noon which is more than that in use so that electricity is being sent back to the grid.

The March extended forecast while a bit warm is not as warm as the recent February warmth and will tend to check the advance of the degree days that plants receive to break into full growth and bloom.

This Saturday will be our seminar on Hemerocallis genus (Daylilies) as much intensive breeding is bringing on numerous, unusual and beautiful varieties.  Our speaker, Rae Dickens is from the Western Reserve Daylily Society and will expond on the creation of these new types as well as showing off the latest cultivars.  Last year when Rae Dickens came to the “What’s new” seminar for 2016, she related to me that what we were showing in daylilies was “old news” so that I asked her to speak this year.

The nursery is open but the plant selection is quite limited as nothing will be put on display until early April as there is always the danger of a very severe cold weather blast such as on April 8th of 2008 when temperatures dropped to 19ºF overnight accompanied by 35 mile per hour winds after a warm March pushed everything ahead.  To say the least, this spring season is going to be very interesting.

Tom