The Vernal Equinox: It’s the First Day of Spring!

 

Today is the first day of spring! Woo-hoo…spring has sprung in the Mid-Atlantic gardening region. But quite honestly, we didn’t have much of a winter so we don’t really have the same enthusiasm as we had two years ago after “Snowapalooza”. But even still, it’s good to know that sustained warm temperatures are right around the corner. For those who don’t know, I’d like to quickly explain what determines our seasons on the calendar:

The Vernal Equinox – March 21 – SPRING – this is the first time in the calendar year when the hours of daylight and darkness are equal…12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.

The Summer Solstice – June 21 – SUMMER – this is the longest period of daylight in the year…from December 22 until June 21 the days get longer and longer.

The Autumnal Equinox – September 21 – AUTUMN – this is the second time in the calendar year when the hours of daylight and darkness are equal…12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.

The Winter Solstice – December 21 – WINTER – this is the shortest period of daylight in the year.

Plants are blooming like crazy now. The trees are blooming, the tulips, the forsythia, the grape hyacinths…you name it and it’s blooming. I thought that I would share a few pictures of the plants that are blooming in the central Virginia area.

Camellia (this one fell into a bed of creeping jenny)

vernal equinox

Redbud (Cercis canadensis

vernal equinox

Daphne odora

vernal equinox

Helleborus orientalis

verna; equinox

Flowering Almond (Prunus mume)

vernal equinox

I hope and pray that we don’t get a hard freeze now…that would be devastating to plants of all sorts. I remember that happening while I was a student at Virginia Tech. Trees had to have all sorts of branches removed as the freeze even killed much of the previous season’s growth. Fingers crossed that doesn’t happen this year! What’s going on in your area? What plants are blooming in your hometown? Leave me a comment below or e-mail me at stacey@midatlanticgardening.com. Happy gardening!

Plant Profile: Early Spring Blooming Trees and Shrubs

 

Today I thought that we would take a look at some of the early spring blooming trees and shrubs. They are everywhere now and they’re such a delightful welcome after winter.

FLOWERING ALMOND (Prunus glandulosa)

 early spring blooming trees

 

SAUCER MAGNOLIA (Magnolia soulangiana)

Early spring blooming trees and shrubs

 

STAR MAGNOLIA (Magnolia stellata)

early spring blooming trees and shrubs

 

FORSYTHIA (Forsythia x intermedia)

early spring blooming trees and shrubs

 

FLOWERING QUINCE (Chaenomeles ‘Jet Trail’)

early spring blooming trees and shrubs

 

KWANZAN CHERRY (Prunus serrulata)

early spring flowering trees and shrubs

All of the early spring flowering trees and shrubs that we looked at today are blooming now in the Richmond, VA area. Well, all except the Kwanzan Cherry. I just wanted to add that one because it’s so beautiful when viewed up close. It makes quite a show while driving 45 miles per hour but if you have the opportunity to view the flowers at close range, you’ll be amazed by all of its beauty. The Saucer Magnolia flowers are no more as they were taken out by a freeze. Be sure to check out this post for more information on how to properly site a Magnolia soulangiana. And I know that Forysthia are planted ad nauseum but if they are allowed to grow into their natural form instead of being pruned into little meatballs, they are a beautiful shrub. OK Mid-Atlantic Gardening readers, what’s blooming in your area right now? Leave me a comment below or e-mail me at stacey@midatlanticgardening.com. Happy gardening!