Yesterday morning my high/low thermometer recorded 23 degrees (-5 C). I have been afraid of this, as many fruit trees had already blossomed out and and a hard frost destroys the blooms, ergo no fruit this year. Fortunately the apples haven’t come out yet, but they are getting cranked up and unless we get some cooler weather they will arrive early this year also. Our average last frost is May 7th, so we have lots of potential for frost yet.
I had a pear tree and a peach tree in full bloom. I haven’t walked up the hill to check them out yet, but I am pessimistic. I have two peaches and they bloom one after the other, so maybe one of them will make it.
I have two varieties of bush cherries. The Nanking had already bloomed and dropped its petals before the freeze. You can see the little pollinized cherries had started to form, thanks to the bees and pollinating wasps that had been working them. As of last night they were still green so will probably be viable. It is the period from just before they open until they start to form little fruits that the trees are vulnerable to frost.
The Hanson cherries were showing bud break and color, and the night before the freeze I noted that the next day the early blooms would open, a few per cent of them. Sure enough after the freeze some did open and I checked their centers which didn’t turn brown. As most hadn’t opened yet, I am hopeful they will make it yet. Maybe cherry blossoms are naturally better at taking some frost than other fruits, because I know apples will take damage even if not quite open. The staggered timing of the blooms opening will also be a survival trait for the cherries.
There was definitely some casualties, as the variegated ivy that had started to grow was brown by evening. The butterfly bushes had a lot of emerged foliage and that is all wilted. It shouldn’t affect the bloom as that is not until August.
Most notable was the forsythia. My wife and I had been mentioning to each other how brilliant the color in the forsythia had been this record setting high temperature spring weather. Later she told me another gardener had made the same comment to her.
That is a bit subjective, and after a long gray winter forsythia with its blaze of yellow always is spirit lifting and seems bright, but for some reason it seemed especially bright this spring.
Although it was still yellow, by afternoon it was noticeable that the chroma had been sucked out of it. This morning, out feeding sunflowers to the birds in the last moments before dawn, it almost has a faint browning to them. Oh well, we had a great display that lasted about ten days and we are grateful for that, and it may continue for a while yet, but that intensity is gone. Faded as my youth.