How to Have the First Bloom on Your Block: Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day March 2015

– Posted in: Design, Mud Season, What's up/blooming
16 comments

It is more important to have the first bloom on your block than the first tomato. The first outdoor bloom is a potent morale booster, signifying that the back of winter has been broken. However, to have the very first flower blooming in your neighborhood is not a matter left to chance. You must employ your powers of observation and your plant hunting skills to make this happen.

front walk melting progress

Because it gets the southern sun, the right edge of the walk melts first. Photo taken March 11th.

I have told you before to take photos of where the snow melts first. I noticed in previous years (and had taken a picture to remind myself) that the snow on one side of the front walk melted sooner than the other side. In the photo you can see why: the mounds of snow shade the left (southern) edge of the walk. The above photo was taken on Wednesday, and by yesterday (Saturday), a strip of the flower border, ten inches wide, was down to bare soil, where I could see the pale points of emerging crocuses and other bulbs.
emerging crocuses

These crocuses might have bloomed for bloom day if it had been sunny. Photo taken March 14th.

These were not any old crocuses, but varieties of Crocus korolkowii, reputedly one of the earliest blooming varieties, and hardy to USDA Zones 3/4. (If you know of an earlier blooming species that is equally hardy, please let me know.) I cleared away some dead vegetation nearby and can tell you the soil was still frozen solid. Frozen soil doesn’t faze the earliest spring bloomers. A friend of mine scraped the snow away and discovered her winter aconites (Eranthis spp.) in full bud.
winter aconites unburied

Many spring bloomers emerge from the soil before the snow has even melted

But even when you get location and varieties right, weather still plays a big part in when you actually get that first bloom. Not only did we fail to get any sun yesterday, but today it’s snowing and those promising crocus sprouts are once again buried under an inch of snow. Sorry, no outdoor blooms for this bloom day, though I did come close. That photo at the top? Same crocus, taken on February 6, 2012, which was a very mild winter.

At least my houseplants haven’t let me down. I was wrong about the ‘Cherry Nymph’ amaryllis. I thought after two flower stalks with multiple buds it was done, but no–it has sent up a third stalk with four flower buds. How do those folks at Longwood Gardens do it?

cherry nymph amaryllis

The amazing ‘Cherry Nymph’ amaryllis is actually more crimson than scarlet.

The same orchid and African violets are blooming as have been since December. My Christmas cactus had a second flush of bloom. The AeroGarden continues to chug out herbs. Yawn. I am more than ready to see this snow gone and for mud season to begin. Not familiar with mud season? Read up on it here: Mud Season Archives.

Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens, and leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

In the end, this may be the most important thing about frost: Frost slows us down. In spring, it tempers our eagerness. In fall, it brings closure and rest. In our gotta-go world–where every nanosecond seems to count–slowness can be a great gift. So rather than see Jack Frost as an adversary, you could choose to greet him as a friend.

~Philip Harnden in A Gardener’s Guide to Frost: Outwit the Weather and Extend the Spring and Fall Seasons

Comments on this entry are closed.

Kathy Sturr of the Violet Fern March 26, 2015, 7:14 am

This makes me want to shovel my snow to see if the winter aconites are budding down there! LOVE that Amaryllis – beautiful. It rained here yesterday and is a bit warmer today but it’s going to take more than that to be rid of this snow!

Kimberley at Cosmos and Cleome March 20, 2015, 9:24 am

Oh that’s funny! Earlier this week, before I read your post, I actually did go out and take pictures of where the snow has melted. Now I need to write down that information in my gardening notebook! ‘Cherry Nymph’ is pretty. I’ve had a couple bulbs from Scheepers send up three bloom stalks–always a nice surprise, and it makes you feel like the higher-than-big-box-store price was worth it! I’ve never been able to achieve more than one flower stalk per bulb in successive years, though.

I have two orchids with well-budded bloom stalks, but I think it will still be a few weeks before any flowers open. One of my Christmas cactuses will bloom a second time soon, and I have a couple nice African violets flowering now. Thank goodness for our flowering houseplants, right?

Veronica Welch March 20, 2015, 1:35 am

Hey Kathy,
Amazing clicks. I love first bloom after the frozen phase πŸ™‚

Katrina Nichols March 18, 2015, 12:32 pm

My heart is smiling as I look at these pictures. I felt like I was seeing a brand new baby for the first time. Something in my spirit quickened at the site of SPRING popping up under the winter. Winter has been long and hard this year and seeing new life is so promising and hopeful! Thank you for sharing!

commonweeder March 18, 2015, 9:40 am

My snowy garden is beginning to have bare spots, but no crocuses growing there. As I consider my next garden, you can be sure this is something I will take into consideration. I’d love to have the first blooms on the block.

Amy Murphy March 16, 2015, 10:15 am

Even that little bit of exposed ground is a long way off in my garden – too much plowed and or shoveled snow on top of the edges. I’ll keep looking

Pat Webster March 16, 2015, 8:46 am

Very nice walkway, Kathy. Definitely worth the effort. And how nice to see the tips pushing through the ground.

Donna@Gardens Eye View March 16, 2015, 8:33 am

Same weather, same snow pack and no bare soil….but I have some strategically placed bulbs in those first spots that melt and am anxiously awaiting more warm weather to get rid of the last 2 ft….of course there are still 4-5 ft drifts and piles…today should give your crocuses a chance for melt and warmth although the rest of the week is yucky cold weather here.

GrabCo. March 16, 2015, 4:22 am

It’s always inspiring to see first blooms right after the winter season. And your tip of photographing melting areas is very useful too. Shared this to our followers.

cathy March 16, 2015, 3:05 am

so beautiful a site as these little green things emerge from the ground, the first leaves of the red maple, the daffs. in bloom, the freesias bud out, the red budd pink, succs in bloom and the bees everywhere . I think we may have spring after all.

Corner Garden Sue March 15, 2015, 9:28 pm

Hi Kathy,
I am thankful spring has begun it’s trek our way. It has been mild here in SE Nebraska for a week. After tomorrow’s 84, the highs for the next week or so are supposed to be in the 50s. I hope they find you soon as well.

Lea March 15, 2015, 9:25 pm

Beautiful amaryllis!
Happy Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day!
Lea

Joanne Toft March 15, 2015, 7:02 pm

Here in Minnesota our snow is gone but no blooms yet. Just a bit of green here and there. Inside my African violet has stopped blooming but an old amaryllis that I was ready to throw away woke up after putting a paper bag over it for a few weeks. It should bloom in another week or so. My Christmas cactus is also on round two of blooming. Loving the longer days!

Les March 15, 2015, 7:01 pm

Your crocus haven’t let you down, at least not entirely. They are just being coy this year.

Alana March 15, 2015, 6:32 pm

If anyone could have the first spring blooms, you could, Kathy. Counting down to spring. Keep us posted!

Jane Rutkowski March 15, 2015, 6:16 pm

Hi Kathy,
I have snowbanks lining my driveway that look a lot like yours lining your walkway. The front of my house faces southwest, so all the melting goes in the afternoon. The snow has gone down, but not a snippet of a crocus yet to be seen. The other day I did actually see bare soil and dead foilage down in my mailbox garden (full western exposure), but we also got some snow last night into today. Not much, maybe 2 inches. Enough to make me want pull my hair out. I am so DONE with winter. At least I have a few pots of blooming hyacinths inside to make me happy. 5 days left – Spring!
Jane