UNITED STATES—Some gardens continue to recover from the exceptionally wintry weather of last winter. Frost damaged some plants, and killed a few. Wind damaged trees. Excessive rain caused erosion and saturation. This collectively unpleasant weather inhibited some from maintaining their gardens. Yet, some plants that require vernalization are performing splendidly.

It seems like an odd juxtaposition. Bloom of some plants is so unusually robust amongst remaining weather damage. Some bloom is noticeably late while most is precisely on schedule. It is not so odd to the plants who seem to behave so oddly though. Whether they appreciate vernalization or dislike frost, they respond to the weather.

Vernalization is merely attainment of sufficient chill to convince plants that it is winter. Many plants that are endemic to climates with cooler winters appreciate such reminders. It initiates their dormancy and resets their respective schedules. They know that subsequently warmer weather initiates their growing or seed germination season.

Some plants prefer a bit more chill than they typically experience here.

Plants that are endemic to climates with mild winters are less reliant on vernalization. Some of such plants are vulnerable to frost. Canna are tropical plants from mountainous regions that sometimes experience frost. They die back harmlessly if frosted, and remain dormant until safely warmer weather. They react to chill, but do not require it seasonally.

Spring bulbs, forsythia and flowering cherries have already bloomed atypically boldly. Later flowering cherries, as well as purple leaf plum, lilac and wisteria continue to do so. Peonies are likely to bloom better than typical a bit later. They are rare locally because of their reliance on typically unreliable vernalization.

Some cultivars of apple and pear are likewise unreliable within locally mild climates. Those that normally perform well here may perform better this year. After early warmth to initiate bloom, stone fruit bloom can succumb to late frost. Last winter though, frost was continuous enough to delay bloom until after the last frost. Extra vernalization may instead enhance production.

Highlight: Asiatic Lily

Lily is such a generic classification. Kaffir lily, water lily, calla lily, canna lily and many other lilies are not lilies at all. These examples are not even remote relatives. Real lilies are of the genus Lilium. However, even the most familiar of these are hybrids of various species. Asiatic lilies are a group of such hybrids that classify as Lilium asiaticum.

Asiatic lilies go into the garden as dormant bulbs during late autumn or winter. They grow through spring to bloom for early summer. Bulbs require vernalization to bloom, so may not bloom annually within mild climates. Asiatic lilies that are now popular as spring cut flowers grow in greenhouses. Mature bulbs can grow large enough for propagation by division while dormant. Bulbs like rich and evenly moist soil.

Asiatic lily bloom can be white, yellow, orange, red, reddish purple or pink. Many are delightfully monochromatic. Some display spots, stripes or darker centers. Each bulb extends a single stem with a few flowers on top. Each flower extends six flaring tepals in familiar lily form. Unlike most other lilies, Asiatic lilies do not produce enough pollen to be messy. All lilies are toxic to cats.

Tony Tomeo can be contacted at tonytomeo.com.