Why the exclamation points on an otherwise unremarkable day?
May 10th is the latest date of measurable snowfall in Milwaukee.
Back in 1990, Mother Nature thumbed her nose at Summer, dumping two to three inches of snow on the lakefront, with a whopping half a foot falling on the western suburbs. Ever since then, it's been an ongoing assumption in these parts that it isn't safe to plant anything outdoors prior to May 10th, for fear Ma Nature's twisted undies.
In related news, I plan to pick up mulch after work today.
The cute "bowling ball" shrubs planted alongside the lilac bush in my front bed shriveled and died before the end of last summer. This was the second set to do so, while the lilac bush, planted the year before the first set of bushes, is thriving.
Even if it takes a while, I can take a hint. Rather than beating a dead shrub (or creating another one, as the case may be), I'm going to put in an hydrangea. It shouldn't get too big - four feet wide and tall, they say - and will add more continuous color to the front (they also said the lilac would only get five feet high - at the height of summer it towers over my 5'4").
I've ordered two: the smaller (1 gall) for the giant patio urn, the larger (2 gall) for the bed in front. The hope is that the larger, better established plant will, well, survive the apparent death valley in the front bed.
The next big question is what color to coax from the hydrangeas. The Great Facebook has spoken, and most think it should be pink, to contrast with the lilac (the lilac has dark purple blooms, rather than the more common lighter ones). My preference is the blue, as I'm afraid the bepinkening agent will leach far enough into the surrounding soil to have an impact on the lilac. This flower bed isn't huge.
This weekend is earmarked for prep work. Get the mulch and put it down on the half of the bed that has the lilac. Dig the hole for the hydrangea and scatter in some soil changer. Pull out the shepherds hook (maybe...since I have to water the patio hydrangea regularly, I may just remember to water anything I put on the hook). Move the urns to their new spot. All that patio prep stuff, too. The hydrangeas are due to be delivered Monday (I get them from Home Depot, but get them online - why yes, I'm lazy. I do go to the garden center half a mile from home to get mulch and annuals).
I just got an update email from FedEx: the bushes will be delivered today.
That is actually better, as if they came Monday, it would likely be next weekend before they got planted.
Rain is forecast for Sunday, but Saturday should be overcast with a temperature in the high fifties. Warmer, but overcast and eventually thunderstorms next week, including Saturday. So this is pretty much the perfect time to get these things in the ground. If nothing else, at least the planting will get done tomorrow.
After all, it will be May 11th tomorrow, and it (probably) won't snow again until at least November!