Monday, November 28, 2016

Second Blooms

Back about 10 years ago or so I bought a grafted weeping pussy willow at the Bangor Flower show, when it was still primarily a flower show. The pussy willow was of the sprawling, “weeping” type, similar to those grafted cherry trees we plant for their form and foliage. My weeping willow came in a 4-inch pot, so you can easily see that it was just a little plant.

After planting in front of my house it didn’t take long for the pussy willow to grow. Each year it just got bigger and bigger, making a nice contrast against the white snow. But one of the reasons for planting any pussy willow is to admire the silvery-white catkins. My pussy willow, though, never had more than two or three catkins at most. This was maddening, especially when I would drive around and view other, similar plants and see that they were aglow with shiny catkins.

However, every so often in fall, my pussy willow sets on a few catkins. And it did that this year. Perhaps the plant thinks it’s spring, I’m not quite sure. One thing I do know is it isn’t terribly unusual for some flowering plants to host a limited, second bloom in fall.

Forsythia, for instance, often sets blossoms in fall. These are never a big, thick blush of blossoms, but all the same they come on in enough numbers to put on an attractive display.

Then we have witch hazel, with its wiry yellow petals. However, witch hazel is a fall bloomer rather than a springtime bloomer, so that sets it apart from pussy willows and forsythia.

At this moment, with temps outside in the mid-40s, it appears that my February daphne, an early-spring flowering plant may soon have a few open blossoms.

And though I’ve never seen this, I believe my neighbor when he told me that he found ostrich fern fiddleheads ready to pick in November.

Were we to have an old-fashioned fall such as the kind we endured in the 1960s through the early 1990s, I wouldn’t be talking about late-blooming plants. But things are different now and warmer falls and winters have become the norm. That’s not to say that any day now we won’t be plunged into the freezer, but it hardly seems likely.

At the very least, it’s fun to go out and look at flowering plants to see if any of them have put on a second bloom. Good luck with that.

As a postscript, I have a confession to make. While I make my living as a writer and use a computer for that, computers are not my friends…by that, they confuse me. I began my writing career on a typewriter, so that should give some history of my relationship with these new-fangled computers.

Anyway, within a few days of posting a new blog I’ll look and see if there were any comments. And usually there aren’t. But once in a great while I’ll go into the guts of the program, a dangerous practice for me, and see to my great amazement that people have responded. In fact I just read a whole string of helpful comments and questions.

So for my next blog I plan on answering those unanswered comments. And from now on, I shall get in the program and take a closer look.

I apologize for not answering some of reader’s excellent questions. From now on I’ll do my best to get with the program and be more attentive. I’m sorry and I promise to do better.