After Cold Start, Garden Experts Assess Early-Spring Flowers
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The beautiful displays of color are what brighten our gardens and our spirit. We plant the bulbs in the fall and then wait with anticipation for their debut in the spring.
Some of them are starting to peek through the ground right now, like tulips and day lilies. But with the weird weather we’ve had this spring, what should we expect? We’ve had our April showers and our April snow. We’ve even had May snow.
WCCO asked the people at the University of Minnesota Extension how they think things are looking for the early flowers in our gardens.
Karl Foord, an educator for the University of Minnesota Extension, teaches classes about plants.
“These guys for the most part are pretty happy,” he said about a bed of tulips on campus. “Snow acts as an insulator, so these things were well protected throughout the winter. No problem, they’re happy. Now when we have a sun incidence and the snow melts, they are just going to come up.”
Day lilies are popular perennials, and they are also starting to make a comeback. Foord says they are tough.
“I am seeing that the plants are starting to come out here and they probably got damaged a little from that late snowfall last week,” he said. “It damaged the tissue a bit, but did not harm the plant overly. They will continue to come up, and green up and do well.”
No matter what you decide to plant once things warm up, one thing’s for sure: mulch makes it better.
“I am a big believer of mulching things,” Foord said. “You put the mulch down and it protects bulbs over the winter, as it degrades, the breakdown products provide fertilizer for the plants, I am a big believer in that.”
The snow the Twin Cities saw last Friday likely will not harm the bulbs that are up so far. If the temperatures had dropped into the low 20s or the high teens, then the plants would have been damaged.
Rule of thumb: the tighter the bud on the plant, the greater the tolerance of low temperatures.
Foord also says we should probably wait until Memorial Day before starting to plant tomatoes. Wait for it to really warm up.
The University of Minnesota has some very helpful websites to help with lawn care and gardening, and most counties in the state have a gardening hotline you can call to get questions answered.