Finally, at long last, we're getting a much needed respite from winter's cold and snow the past few days ... Today we even had some light rain (though thunderstorms were predicted) and the temperature made it all the way up to 60F ... I even opened the window in my office to let in the cool, fresh air! Just what I needed after this bout with the flu over the past two weeks, and when the sun actually came out this afternoon, it had an even more salutory effect on my winter weary mood, and set me to anticipating the imminent arrival of the spring bulbs! Though only the hardiest of the hardy might dare show themselves this early (Snowdrops, where are you?), it won't be that long before life starts stirring again in the beds and parking out front as the crocus and other early spring bloomers awaken from their long winter's nap under the snow pack, which, happily is receding more and more with each warmish day we experience....
Though we both have our favorites among the early bloomers, I have to admit that I've always had a real soft spot for crocus ever since I was a child when I marveled at seeing these bright messengers of spring pop up in various places in my parents' yard and garden. When we first started planting bulbs back in fall 1999, a nice assortment of Snow Crocus was among our first purchases (along with Siberian Squill and Snowdrops), and we've continued to plant hundreds more over the past ten years, and last year we added yet another 300 or so to our already burgeoning collection, so I'm eagerly awaiting their appearance this Spring. Since I didn't actually help with last fall's planting (Fernymoss did all the work this time), I'm not quite sure where exactly they will pop up, so that will add even more to the surprise and delight of seeing these cheerful little gems emerge from their winter hibernation....
Though these photos are from last spring (April alas, due to the very late malingering winter we had last year), they are just a few of the representatives of the dozens of varieties we have planted, and the one in the first photo is one of our "Giant Dutch" varieties, the name of which escapes me at the moment, but it's a lovely one I always enjoy seeing bloom!
These diminutive beauties are from a particularly delightful Snow Crocus mix we originally got from Van Bourgondien Bulbs, and we liked this mix so much that we ordered yet another collection of 100 of exactly the same last fall, so there will be even more of them coming up soon. Another thing I love so much about these Snow Crocus (in particular) is that they naturalize quite quickly and it's not unusual for them to double or triple in number in the first 2-3 years after planting, so much so that eventually we hope to achieve large drifts of them around the beds and parking where we have them planted ... can you imagine anything more delightful than that? Well, Fernymoss might differ with me and say he'd rather see huge drifts of Siberian Squill, but they're doing well enough on their own that they're already on their way to achieving that goal!
Being fortunate enough to capture the sun permeating the petals of these lovelies can produce a really beautiful effect, as the previous photo demonstrates quite well (I think!), revealing the rich depths and variations of color that you can find within a single bloom ... and with the many variations of color available in Crocus, painting a veritable rainbow across the garden is something easily within the reach of any gardener so inclined and willing to take the time to purchase and plant them. And, as far as planting bulbs is concerned, Crocus are among the easiest: they are small (about the size of a penny or dime) so they don't have to go down very deep and the motivated gardener can easily plant quite a few in one session, just using the ubiquitous garden trowel. The work is richly rewarded when one has reached the breaking point with wintery weather doldrums and the first few truly sunny and warm days of Spring arrive, they start springing from the ground almost in bloom even before the foliage is fully developed!
By now, I'm sure you've noticed the particular color theme in these photos revealing my penchant for the purple varieties, though I'm almost as fond of the astonishing range of brilliant yellows Crocus also offer and it won't be long before you'll be seeing them on these pages as well. I guess I was just in a purple mood tonight as I perused my archives looking for representative photos.... As the weather moderates more, I'll be outside looking for signs of their emergence, though the forecast for the rest of the week has us experiencing one more nice day (today), then we'll be back to more seasonal norms in the 30's. After all, it is just the beginning of February and we may still have more snows in store, but even if the Crocus do emerge, they can take a fair amount of cold and snowy abuse, so we'll see what the next few weeks bring!
At this point I'm sure some of you are wondering where Hanna is and why she hasn't appeared in this post (something she's probably asking herself as well!) so here's a bonus puppy picture for the dog inclined among you ... so here she is from a couple of weeks back, when I caught her posing and staring intently into the dining room where Fernymoss was undoubtedly doing something absolutely fascinating ... but then just about anything seems fascinating to Hanna at this point, which is one of the joys of puppyhood I had long forgotten, but am enjoying so much again since her arrival at Casa IVG.
There's something truly rejuvenating about sharing in the puppy's experience of a new environment and world ... for me, as cheesy as it might seem to say, it has helped reawaken my inner child's sense of wonder and opened up new perspectives for me yet again, thanks to Hanna's perpetual discovery of yet another new thing in her world. For example, just this past weekend while I was working away in my office, I had the window open and she heard a plane go over and really sat up to attention wondering what that might be ... I realized that what passes as totally banal for me, was yet another source of wonder for her as she explores the new world she's living in. And when I took her out several times today, I think she's just as (or more) relieved to see the snow recede ... now she doesn't have to worry about getting lost (literally) up to her elbows in the drifts of snow! I think she really appreciates that, but to know for sure, you'd have to ask her yourself!