2/26/15: In the garden this week


American hazelnut (Corylus americana) produces tiny, bright red female flowers in earliest spring–normally around the third week in March. They’re in bloom right now in my garden.

The weather can only be described as bizarre–warm, then cold; wet, then dry. Normally hazelnuts bloom in my garden at the same time as crocuses and right before spicebush. This year the hazelnuts are extra early, while the crocuses are barely showing above ground and the spicebush buds are just swelling slightly.

After quite a bit of rain followed by a couple of cold days, we’re in for a warm spell. It’s too late for winter pruning, but it’s a good time to do early spring chores like these:

— start vegetable seeds such as tomatoes and squash. You can find a list of dates for starting seeds in this post.

— the ground is wet and the weather is turning warm; it’s time to weed! Dig up wild garlic and dandelions and pull garlic mustard and western bittercress in your garden plots. The mustards go to seed particularly early, so it’s a good idea to pull them as soon as you recognize them. And they’re easy to pull.

— as weeds and lawn grasses begin to grow, neaten the edges of your perennial and shrub beds. It’s easier to do it now, when the weeds’ and grasses’ root systems are relatively small, than it will be once the weather turns warm.

Finally, get out and look for the earliest signs of spring in our local natural areas. Skunk cabbage is up; hazelnuts are in bloom; you should see vernal witchhazel, pussy willow, and spicebush very soon. Enjoy the spring weather!


Hazelnuts’ male flowers are borne on these long, dangling catkins that turn from green to golden as the pollen ripens.



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