The Truth About Spring in Nova Scotia

I’ve heard nothing but griping about winter for the past week. I’m not among the gripers. That’s because I’ve been keeping records for 30+ years on the first appearance of Forsythia and Coltsfoot in Halifax.

We’re still in the grips of winter – two snow storms in the past ten days. Strong winds, freezing rain. I understand that the time has changed and the calendar has passed March 21 but guess what — we can expect at least another month of “winter” here!

First Coltsfoot – April 27 2016

When I started keeping track more than 30 years ago, the first Forsythia – those bright yellow shrub flowers, the first we see in spring in Halifax didn’t show up until close to the 20 of May – the earliest I recorded Forsythia up to 1992 was May 16. From 1997 to last year that date slowly shifted – from May 12 to around May 2. In 2015 I recorded some Coltsfoot and Forsythia on May 2. Last year I actually saw some Coltsfoot and Forsythia on April 27. That’s still a month to go.

First Dandelions – May 31 2016

We can’t expect to see Dandelions in bloom until around May 24 in Nova Scotia.

So there’s no point in griping – enjoy what sunshine we’re getting. Be sure to put on a warm jacket. The calendar may say “spring” but Spring won’t arrive in Nova Scotia until the very END of April – even with the changing climate.

Back Garden

Two weeks ago, when I got back from San Francisco, the deck was finally free of snow, although the patch of grass between the deck and the back garden bed still had a couple of inches remaining. It went within a week. Last Saturday, a sunny warm day, I moved pots around, picked up my broom and swept away the debris. Monday, I cleared out the dead remains of last year’s planting from the containers so the new perennial growth could come through – chives, hosta, coral bells, even the peony, all survived beneath the snow. The maple, yellow birch, dogwood – all originally volunteers – are in bud. My clematis is showing lots of new growth, and I can see I’ll have a good display of blooms on both rhododendrons!

Today, I planted some ajuga reptans (bugle weed), echinacea (last year’s planting didn’t survive), and pansies (all can handle the still cold nights). The other day I happened to see some pink wax begonias – couldn’t find them anywhere last year so I bought a couple of sets – since it’s too early to put them out, I’ve stuck them in my covered basement window well where they are protected from the low night temperatures and still get light during the day. It won’t be warm enough to transplant them to containers for at least another 10 days.

I’m now on the lookout for a second small peony. The canna lily last year was gorgeous – I hope to find one again this year. I should be able to buy a hibiscus at the Superstore garden centre in a couple of weeks. Then some million bells or verbena for the three pots on the fence. A pink mandevilla would finish off the planting nicely!

I love this time of year – finally being able to work in the garden, watching everything growing. Looking forward to five months without coats and boots. This is living in Canada!

Spring Is Here!


Spring has finally arrived in Nova Scotia – the Coltsfoot has popped up! I noticed this patch on the roadside as I was driving by late this morning on my way to pick up a friend for lunch. The cheery yellow flowers are our first spring blooms. 

The temperature actually reached double digits today and the snow patches are all but gone, thank goodness. I was happy to see these harbingers of warmer weather to come. 

Next flower to look for is Forsythia – for the last many years it has come into bloom between May 3-6. Not this year for sure! I must keep an eye out for the shrubs in my neighbourhood. (I do have a few pathetic crocuses in my front garden bed, but the display is so paltry it doesn’t count as spring.)

Spring!

Ann Williamson shared some lovely spring photos from Portland OR today:  

This is one of several photos of spring in full bloom.

Then I look at my back deck: 

The towering cap of snow on the shed has grown smaller but we’ve a long way to go.

And out my front door:  

 

It’s a wonderful sunny day today, but more snow is in the forecast for tomorrow.

I’ve taken this crazy winter in stride for the most part but I am beginning to wonder if we’ll ever see spring. I sure hope our vegetation has survived under the snow!