April: The Lost Month

Now that we have reached the midpoint of April, I feel like declaring the whole month a loss, at least as far as the garden is concerned.

Driveway Border earlier today.

We had a brief blast of warmth during the week. In Springfield, it got almost hot at 80 degrees. But Mother Nature was just teasing. As I drove north on Friday, I could sense the temperatures plummeting. By the time I got home, it was below 40 degrees.


And over the weekend it was even colder, with alternating snow and rain. The snow didn’t stick, at least. The ground is completely sodden, though. Pretty much a repeat of last weekend.

By comparison, here are some pictures taken in mid-April from previous years.

Daffodils blooming in the Back Garden, April 12, 2017.


Species Tulips blooming, April 17, 2016


View of the front garden, April 12, 2016. It looks better partly because spring cleanup is done. However, we can’t do spring cleanup this year because everything is too soggy.

I don’t mean to wallow in self-pity here. No, I take that back. I am wallowing, and it’s completely deliberate. The thing is, at this time of year I spend the week itching to get back home over the weekend and stick my hands in the dirt. All through March, I kept telling myself that surely by April there will have been a turn in the weather. But no.

Our troll is also wallowing in self-pity.

Usually by now all kinds of bulbs are blooming and I have filled the containers with pansies and other spring annuals. Instead, I have to come back to a garden of half-frozen mud. This is demoralizing.

More snow is predicted for tomorrow, but there should be an improvement by next weekend. Not a vast improvement, but good enough to enable some actual gardening. It has to happen eventually, right?

81 Comments on “April: The Lost Month

  1. Yes, it will happen eventually; and most of what you need is probably already there. They just need to come up and regenerate. They know what they are doing, and when to do it.

  2. Wow, this has been a backward spring! Still, I would consider myself lucky if my garden were anywhere near as close to coming to life as yours is right now! We still have piles of snow everywhere, and last year at this time the first species crocuses were opening.

  3. Good idea to have photos of the same time last year …. Wow what a contrast! Perhaps we could have a gardening world wide self pitying club…. Here in Canberra we seem to be by-passing Autumn ( my favourite season) & straight into winter.

  4. I feel your pain! I have gotten a little cleanup done, but that is all the weather has allowed in central IL.

  5. We all seem to be having the same problem, I have half my garden sorted, the other half is so wet, I can’t get on it, flower beds are under water, I’m wondering if plants will drown. I wish I had got the clean up done in autumn, at least then it would be soggy but tidy.

  6. Hope spring comes soon to u 💥 and it makes all the flowers bloom in your garden. Keep Glittering 👍 love ; TGA by Misha 😊😊

  7. I think Jason, the climate is changing and not to warmth but to cold one. Here we have had 60 F these days and the bulbs go growing. We do hope spring comes soon to our gardens.

  8. Another freezing morning but at least we have power and no local flooding. This is an April Fool’s joke that will last all month it seems. Who fooled Mother Nature?

  9. The expression, hope Springs eternal couldn’t be more true. I would be just as miserable and testy as you are, if I stilled lived in the upper regions, as I call it. Even the South has been cooler than normal…so much for global warming. Hope the snow quits soon and you will be in the garden trying madly to keep up with the growing plants and weeds!

  10. So sorry for your awful weather. The emotions of a gardener during a late arriving spring are certainly understandable and OK to have. Hope spring arrives with the same vengeance as a late winter storm. It will be glorious.

  11. I’m right there with you. It was snowing yesterday, enough to last until morning, though it’s now turned to nasty rain. Spring has to come sometime, but if it keeps up like this, it might not be until May or June, ack!

  12. I hear you! Same is true in Maine. Either Spring has been coy this year or Winter has been greedy or a combination thereof.

  13. I’ll join the chorus. The weather here in Kentucky has been up and down like a yo-yo. Freeze warning for tonight.
    It’s so interesting to see your early spring front yard in different years. The one with most of the beds in 2016 is especially helpful and will be fun to see all those “smarter than humans” plants appear and fill in.

  14. And up here, there’s inches INCHES on the ground. Our roses- some came last week and I have a feeling, they’ll be starting life here in a large pot! We can only hope and wait!

  15. Might as well get down here and wallow with the rest of us discontented gardeners. It has be a trying month to say the least. Bah humbug… It is even spitting snow here in SW Indiana. Not supposed to do this in April.

  16. Your title is so apt, Jason. Go right ahead and wallow in self-pity; I have been pretty darned crabby all month. Luckily, I am retired, so I did get to enjoy those three days of spring tease last week and work outside, but today it’s back to snow…ugh. I keep thinking of a line from T.S. Eliot–“April is the cruelest month..” I always thought he was being pessimistic, but this year I have to agree.

  17. Oh my…i see the weather but the pictures put it in better perspective. We are having a coolish spring which actually means it is lovely. Hoping your May will be full of flowers!

  18. I will second your comment that this has been a lost month. We had a winter weekend with snow and ice, and it is sleeting again today. Everything in the yard is covered with a coating of ice and our second car that is parked outside is a solid piece of ice. 😦

  19. Oh, I am in the same boat, although I have accomplished a little bit of clean up on the few days that have been halfway decent. I figure once the forsythia pop, spring will be here. I hope!

  20. We’ve had lots of rain, cloud, wind and just a little sun. The rain was weird though as it had sand from the Sahara in it so it’s left everything covered in yellow dust. There’s still a couple of weeks of April left so you may still get to enjoy your bulbs.

  21. I can’t recall such a slow start to spring either, watching the leaves unfurl is like watching paint dry, you wallow away, I’m right there with you. We are due some good weather this week….can’t wait. Sending you some sunshine, hopefully that will bring your bulbs on.xxx

    • Today is Saturday. It was cloudy and cool, but decent enough to get some gardening done. Tomorrow we are supposed to have sun.

  22. It seems that all of us northern gardeners are moaning and wallowing, in sleet and mud as well as self-pity. This morning my car was completely encased in ice. It’s too painful to describe the poor little plants that keep trying to poke their noses up. We also have warmer weather forecast for the weekend but who know what warmer will turn out to be.

  23. I echo your last question. I’ll believe it when I see it…and experience it. As far as I’m concerned this April is the worst I can remember. Maybe because it’s colder and snowier than March was. It’s tough to take after the normal-mild winter we had. Oh well, spring has to happen sometime, right?

  24. There have been years where I have been convinced nothing will ever grow again and we are doomed to winter all year, but it does get warmer and greener, it WILL…. and I hope for you that it is really soon!

  25. We have had a cold late Spring here too in the UK and it has been extremely wet. It is now turning warm – too much so as predicted for next week. Unfortunately as a I write it is blowing a small gale! Ah well it will dry up my wet soil. Thats’s gardening for you

  26. How true is this .. the lost month for sure !!
    Since Friday, the 13th of course .. we were under freezing rain/snow warnings .. this is enough to make you through in the trowel and spade .. I’m sure to take a hit with plant loss.
    I am also sure this is the worst so called Spring in 20 years !! Bah Humbug !!

  27. I truly hope that spring will come soon for all of you northern gardeners. Cold springs are the worst. Even at home in Asheville, there was a bit of snow today, with 30° F temps. Sending good thoughts!

    Here in Umbria, the high today was 69° — and the climbing rose in back of our HomeExchange house is starting to flower. It was quite chilly the first couple of weeks we were here, but now spring definitely seems settled in.

  28. Jason, I sympathize completely. There is still snow on the ground here, and yesterday we had snow, sleet and freezing rain all day. Today was warmer (above freezing) with drizzle, but still well below normal temperatures for this time of year. One local news anchor dubbed this “the winter that refuses to leave.” That about covers it. Sigh…

  29. I installed a new package of bees last week and the poor things haven’t been able to leave the hive yet, the weather’s been so miserable. When the sun and warmth finally arrives, it’s going to feel like heaven.

  30. Well, I’m wallowing too – a lot. And make no bones about it either. It will be difficult to catch up on 3 weeks worth of backlog once it starts getting warm this weekend. I’m just hoping that I’ll be able to catch up before the Fling!

  31. Climate Change is happening, as i have experienced here in our very hot climate, and from the blogs of my friends around the world. If i think about it, a bit scary!

  32. I just talked to a friend in Houston, who talked this morning to one of her friends in your area, and there were the same tales of cars encased in ice, more snow, and so on and so forth. I’m just so sorry. I think it’s worse when there’s a little tease, and then it goes back to dismal. The turn will come, eventually — and whining is perfectly acceptable. We sound the same way down here in September, when we’re waiting for the heat to break.

      • They have been. I’ve worked up a sweat only one day, and tonight, the windows all are open. We’re in for a week of 70s/50s, and believe me — everyone is going to enjoy it, because the heat is coming. This is a real treat.

  33. Ugh, I feel your pain! We have pretty much the same thing going on here. Maybe next week…

  34. Oh how I hope we are done with winter, but I am almost becoming superstitious and don’t want to jinx it! I have a lot of work to do in my yard this weekend as I have done none… It seems like forever waiting for those below-freezing nights to stop. My phone weather app says we are in the clear!

  35. Hello Jason, it’s been very slow to warm up here and we have had periods of incessant rain. It means I can’t go out in the garden as the grass and borders are just too wet. With the soil being heavy clay, it takes a long time to dry out too. It’s like having an enforced rest, unable to “get on” with starting the new season. The only consolation is that it can’t stay cold for long and soon enough, you’ll be thankful you were given that enforced break at the start.

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