I don’t know about you, but I’m shocked to turn the page on the calendar and realize that today is April 1st.
Where did the first quarter of the year go?
January, February, and March seemed to contain such long days which in hindsight were so fleeting.
We wait and wait for winter to end and then surprise! It does end. And we act shocked at how quickly spring arrived.
But the arrival of April isn’t the only surprise and shock in my garden these days.
In late January, I was out in the garden taking a few pictures of what turned out to be one of the few snowy days this winter. I couldn’t believe what I saw.
Do you see them?
Here’s another picture where I put in a couple of arrows pointing to the surprise I found.
Those are tiny sunflowers. In bloom. In the middle of winter.
How could sunflowers grow and bloom in my winter garden, like hellebores?
Here’s a close-up of some of the flowers. (I apologize I didn’t get a clearer image. It was so cold that day!)
After taking the pictures, I ran back inside and grabbed some pruners so I could cut some of the flowers and bring them inside to study further.
I wanted to be sure they were actually sunflowers, Helianthus annuus. And I think they were.
Unfortunately, in my haste and with all the excitement of finding something other than hellebores and the odd snowdrop blooming in my garden in January, I wasn’t thinking clearly. I didn’t think about leaving the sunflowers to set seed so I could harvest and sow that seed and verify they really would bloom in the wintertime.
It’s possible there are still one or two seedheads out there, but I didn’t see any when I was weeding in that area the other day.
But hope springs eternal. And April 1st comes every year. Maybe I’ll find some winter-blooming sunflower seeds. Or maybe another sunflower will grow and bloom next winter.
If I do find more of this winter-blooming sunflower and manage to save some seeds, I can add it to my list of other plants I’ve discovered or announced on April 1st, including the world’s first winter hardy tomato plant, which keeps on growing and producing fruit all winter. And that new species of a weird vining plant I discovered growing in my compost pile 17 years ago. And those rabbit-resistant green bean plants, which are perfect for gardeners who garden where wild rabbits eat green bean seedlings down to nubbins.
Stay tuned for updates, which may be slow in coming, perhaps not until next April 1st.
And have a great day, whether you are in or out of your garden!