Thursday, March 31, 2016

First Days of Spring: Promises of Emergence on the Eve of Folly

          Let's start somewhere. Crocuses are winter flowers. We want to see them in early sick-of-winter March, if not February. You don't see them if the snow cover is heavy. If it's light, or just a dusting, they pop right up through it. We had one of those semi-serious March snows a few weeks ago. It was melting away by sundown on the same day it fell. The next day one final crocus emerged, so I took its photo and put it here.
            I have no name for these little blue guys who pop up in the last days of March amid last year's uncleared brown leaves and the green vines of the vinca. I simply call them star flowers. (second photo).
            These pink-tinted Lenten roses, so named obviously because that's the time of year they start new growth and show their color, are also known as examples of hellebores (third and fourth photos down). If Lent starts in February, in most climes you'll these blossoms then.
            Hyacinths (below) are one of my favorite bulbs. They make a good show and they'll bloom reliably for years, even without any special attention.
            The flowers of the vinca minor (right) love the first sunny days of March. They're not put off by a lot of dead leaves, broken stems, fallen branches twigs, acorns, the predations of squirrels. In some woodland areas they'll carpet the forest floor, thick as a medieval tapestry with an elaborate pattern. They're an allegory for growth, persistence, annual renewal.
            A daffodil or two arrives in the herb garden, stealing a march on the edibles. I don't remember putting it there. Someone should interview the squirrels.
            Three prominent perennials in the next photo. Lower left is the speedwell.  Center, closer to the bricks is one of the varieties of Campanula (little bells) I've planted in recent years. This one shows up for business every year. To its right the purple-leafed coral bells, which fare so well in partial sun. The definition of this back garden is partial sun.
            A couple of primroses, one with red blossom opening. Can't remember if this variety is the so-called English or so-called Japanese primrose. It's probably fighting for space, water and nutrients from a crowd of neighbors all of which will ultimately o'ertop it. But in April it will win the local beauty contest.
            The columbine. Again, an early bloomer. I'm happy to see its leaves looking so vibrant. I'll try to remember to cut down everything around it for a month or two to give this plant enough light to shine in early May when its wild-woodsy blossoms show and grow.