As a child, I went to sleep on Christmas Eve with a sense of anticipation and excitement. What was I going to find under that tree in the morning? As a gardener, the first mild days of mud season bring that same excitement and anticipation, except now it goes on for weeks: What am I going to find blooming today?Cyclamen coum takes the prize for earliest bloom. This tiny plant with its tiny but very bright flowers has managed to have one flower blooming in succession since mid-February. I think I will get some more of these diminutive charmers. The snowdrops pictured in Fickle February have raised their “outers” high and released their sweet perfume. Several other snowdrops have joined ‘Sam Arnott.’ Do you remember the snowdrops I planted in the Secret Garden in 2012? Each of those singly-planted bulbs is now a little clump: I have some green-tipped snowdrops, closely related to the common snowdrops in the Secret Garden, blooming this year as well. I have two double snowdrops: ‘Hippolyta’ is new to me this year. I have had ‘Flore Pleno’ for many years, and I understand it is one of the parents of ‘Hippolyta.’ Two other new ones this year are ‘Magnet’ and Galanthus woronowii, but they didn’t photograph well. That makes seven different kinds. A small selection compared to how many kinds are out there. The flowers above are not snowdrops, but snowflakes. Spring snowflakes, to be precise. You may be familiar with summer snowflakes (Leucojum aestivum), which are more readily available. The spring snowflakes have larger flowers, about the size of an American nickel, but aren’t quite as numerous. Winter aconites are one of the first flowering bulbs I grew (in high school) and I just love their cheerful yellow flowers. They start blooming about the same time as the earliest snowdrops. If these flowers remind you of colchicums, you’re not the only one. They have hopped in and out of the Colchicum genus over the decades. Right now they’re in a genus all their own. Once I build up some stock, I will find a ground cover that flatters them and plant them in it. I planted three varieties of this relatively rare crocus because it was so early blooming. I didn’t see as many as last year and I wonder if the voles finally found them. Some buds got ruined by emerging in early February and getting socked by our one -24°F (-31°C) night, turning to mush before they ever opened. But that doesn’t account for all of them. I planted a mix of species and Dutch crocuses in the lawn and a few of the smaller kinds are blooming now, but ‘Firefly’ was first. However, I think a yellow kind got nipped in the bud, just like the Crocus korolkowii did. I hope to plant another 400 corms this fall, bringing it up to 75 square feet planted. It’s a good thing I trimmed that old hellebore foliage in February, because the hellebores have started blooming. I’d like to put in a good word for one of the earliest blooming shrubs. Many witch hazels bloom in very early spring, but this daphne is much hardier. Looking forward to the day when my shrub is big enough to cut some branches to force.
Compared to last year’s lingering winter, spring has come early this year, but for cold climate gardeners, it never comes early enough. How many kinds of really early blooming plants do you have in your garden? Why not make a note to add more?
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.