April, we hardly knew ye

The weather in April was unusual. “April showers bring May flowers” is normally appropriate, but the first half of the month saw snow showers rather than rain showers. Colder than normal temperatures, more cloud cover than average, and more snow than average conspired to delay gardening chores by two to three weeks. April 2014 became the second wettest April since official records started in 1872. The calendar shows today as May 1 but the weather seems like March 1. However, the trend towards warmer weather starts the middle of next week, and the recent heavy rains and sloppy snow flurries eliminated soil frost with a minimum of flooding.

A two-week delay shortens the USDA Growing Zone 4 growing season by over 10%. Early spring bulbs are making up for lost time with surprising growth spurts during the few sunny and warm days available last month. Flowering shrubs are not as lucky. My forsythia bush is finally starting to bloom, three weeks late. This may mean it will not rebloom again in late September. Maple and pine tree pollen increased dramatically, but the rain helped keep the levels more tolerable to people suffering allergies. All the lilac bushes may bloom at the same time even though the normal bloom times of the three different varieties ensured continuous blooms from early April until mid July. It is still too early to tell what garden plants survived the winter, but it appears both of my prickly pear cacti may now be interesting composting material.

This area has also seen a bumper crop of potholes and orange construction barrels. Some of the potholes are deep enough to have a bumper crop of loose automobile parts and shredded tires strewn about them. A several inch deep pothole causes tire, wheel and steering component damage. When that pothole fills with water, it is well camouflaged. Another big worry is the extra moisture created more breeding grounds for mosquitoes. It has been too windy for the Mosquito Control District helicopters to drop the bacteria laced pellets that disrupts mosquito larvae development. Perhaps the cold weather delayed the hatching season accordingly.

Give your special someone a meaningful hug when you get a chance. A hug brightens up the darkest of times, and if your weather is as cold as it is here, it warms up a shivering person. To the recently departed month of April, I hope the door didn’t smack your backside too hard when you left, and try to avoid the potholes.

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