This time of the year, it’s amazing what a difference a day can make. Thursday, snow on the ground. I couldn’t have taken these photos on Thursday because these plants were still buried under snow. Friday, snow had melted, but nothing had bloomed. Yesterday (Saturday) the sun was shining and I had snowdrops blooming in three different locations. These first ones are ‘Sam Arnott,’ purchased from Odyssey Bulbs, who assured that they are the real thing. (Apparently there are impostors lurking in the trade.) But I remember them being much taller last year. This year, they give the appearance of being buried too deeply, as if (speaking anthropomorphically) they are buried up to their chests instead of their shins. I suspect our wacky winter may have something to do with this. The double snowdrops in the next photo have the same problem.
Despite being located on the north side of the house, these ‘Sam Arnotts’ were the first to “drop” their blossoms. I found them that way on February 4th, when I was taking photos for my Hall of Shame post. And that’s how they remained, in a state of almost-but-not-quite blooming, until yesterday. Snowdrops can be maddening that way. The more observant among you may notice that one poor snowdrop lost its blossom, which is laying off to the right. This last snowfall I was dismayed to see a footprint smack on top of the snowdrop location, and was not surprised to see the sad result. This is only the second year I have snowdrops on this side of the house, and the rest of the family isn’t used to being careful here so early in the season.
These are my double snowdrops. They were the first to bloom last year. This year I was wondering if they were even going to show up. When I pulled on some ground ivy to try to neaten up this scene for the camera, much to my surprise the whole clump of snowdrops started rising with the weed. Further inspection revealed a hole in front of the clump, and a larger hole behind the clump (click on the image to enlarge it and see the arrows). Upon seeing the rabbit poop to the right (see third arrow) I concluded some wascally wabbit had made a burrow directly underneath the snowdrops. From the clumps of fur I found in the general vicinity, I believe it to be a deceased rabbit. We have seen a hawk and have heard owls, so there’s certainly no lack of predators.
I mentioned snowdrops blooming in three locations. The third is my big patch in the Secret Garden. I included a photo from a previous year in this post, so I didn’t bother to take a photo of them yesterday. While there were a few blooming there, they weren’t as far along as they were in that previous photo. Are snowdrops the last flowers of winter or the first flowers of spring? To my mind, they are the poster children for mud season, that time of year when the topmost layer of soil has thawed but it is still frozen further down. Indeed, the same area that had been fully thawed less than a month ago was frozen at the depth of my index finger yesterday. No weeding got done yesterday, but I did some general clean up. Today it is still mild, but raining off and on. Just the thing to drive the frost out of the ground.
And though one has begun to search for signs of spring almost since January, and to receive them, like postcards sent on a long voyage to home, it is with the greening of the grass that spring has, finally, certainly arrived. ~ Wayne Winterrowd and Joe Eck, A Year at North Hill : Four Seasons in a Vermont Garden
The greening of the grass: that’s the sure sign of spring.