One of the two cherry trees on campus is in full bloom, and the one on the north of it is getting close. I will confess that I don’t exactly know what kind of cherry tree this is-one of the drawbacks to going to a university in the north. (University of Vermont) We’re not exactly a hotbed of cherry knowledge up here. In fact, it’s not even supposed to live up here. If I had to guess, I think it’s a Sargent Cherry, Prunus sargentii. So for those keeping track, that’s starting at about 75 growing degree days. For those that read a post a while ago saying I would write a post about growing degree days, I haven’t forgotten you.
It’s been a great weekend to see Magnolia flowers as they go flying past you at 30 MPH in the wind. Seriously, it’s been pretty windy all weekend. A hot wind yesterday, from the south. It got up to about 84 degrees, and today it didn’t feel like it broke 50.
The magnolias on campus are still in full bloom, though. They are Star Magnolias, a wide spreading shrub/small tree of about 15 feet wide and tall. Perfectly hardy in the Champlain Valley, and a great early flowering choice for the landscape. Fine in full sun, but also adaptable to part shade as well. One at my house is thriving on the north side of a garage, and it probably doesn’t get more than 3 hours of sun a day.
The ironic thing about the magnolias on campus is where they are planted. Someone in years past thought they were not very hardy, so they planted them on top of steam lines, thinking the heat from the steam would help protect them. So, there is one behind Voter, right on top of that steam line, one in front of Carr Hall, and another in front of Allen. There was one by Starr/Axinn, but we moved it with a tree spade last year during construction, and it now resides behind Hillcrest.
We planted Merrill Magnolias last year by the Bowker House, on the corner by Adirondack Road. They have a more classic magnolia flower, not in the star shape of the Star Magnolia, more like a small tulip. They are going to be much taller as well, as much as 30 feet or so.
It was a warm winter, so we probably won’t see any low blooming forsythia this year. Continue reading
In the Garden of the Seasons by the New Library is some Spring Witchhazel, Hamamelis vernalis. It’s the very first plant to bloom I can think of, but it is pretty subtle. Down south they may bloom as early as January or February, but up here they are right on schedule. I like it’s fall color, a nice vibrant yellow.
There are also some snowdrops in bloom behind Longwell, that’s on Hillcrest Road by the commuter parking. They look to be escapees from an old garden back there.
And finally, Red Maple is in full bloom on campus. Otherwise known as swamp Maple, or loggers refer to it as soft maple. It’s not in bloom in Weybridge yet, but Middlebury is a little warmer than other locales.