Bright Crocus and Tulips ... Spring, Glorious Spring ... It Finally Got Here!
The weather today gave us a wonderful official re-introduction to our long awaited friend Spring! We had a very busy day, starting bright and early by going to get our taxes prepared ... happy, happy, joy, joy! Actually, it wasn't that painful (both of us are getting refunds) and it's virtually done, all but for the signing and payment ... at least one less banal worry during the time we want to get kicking in the gardens. Of course Princess Hanna accompanied us on a couple of errands for groceries, so she was enjoying the going fast machine ... but our main accomplishment was getting almost all of the front boulder bed, sidewalk and the front gardens cleared out, cleaned out and raked. Some fantastic news to report: we were both seeing quite a few Tulips coming up, and to our memory more than last year, so we are cautiously optimistic they may be making a comeback..... Though we haven't yet found any bulbs coming up in the Woodland Garden, that's not surprising because it always stays coolest there and they usually arrive later than those planted further in front or the parking.
Today's photos were taken by Fernymoss ... You'll notice I changed the header photo again ... it now displays a Crocus that is actually blooming at this time ... The same variety you see in these first shots is called Specie crocus 'Dorothy' and was planted way back in 2005 when we really worked ourselves and planted hundreds of bulbs we had ordered, the same year we planted the 200 Tulips, 100 Spanish Squill and a bunch of Daffodils, Hyacinths, Alliums and Crocus. Many of the bulbs planted that year are now starting to spread nicely, especially these 'Dorothy' planted in the back with the snowdrops. We'll be seeing more of the progress of the rest of that year's class over the coming weeks and are looking forward to the show, given the number of bulbs coming up we uncovered or discovered today, which is only the start!
Golden chalices filled with sunshine ... that's what this shot evokes for me. A view you can only get if you're willing to get down, up close and personal with your crocus ... it's essential, I think, if only because their yearly visit is so brief, indeed ephemeral. Yet, they're such a deceptively complex flower when examined up close. To me, the outstanding features of this Crocus, aside from the brilliant gold accentuated by sunshine, are its hardiness (zones 3-9) and those dramatic stripes on the outside of the petals. And the nice bonus is that this Crocus naturalizes readily, and quite rapidly. As you'll see in the following shots, it has spread quite nicely in this part of the back corner bed.
These Crocus and Snowdrops are clearly establishing colonies in this bed, where they were originally planted on the periphery ... they've moved inward a bit, as you'll see in successive shots. At first glance, I missed the "baby" in this shot ... further proof that the colonies are reproducing nicely. You go, Crocus!
Here's a bit wider view of two small colonies of Galanthus elwesii and 'Dorothy' not far from the parent planting but moving inward ...in the forest of Monarda and Coneflower stalks, and if you look closely at the enlarged image, you can see the Monarda 'Blue Stocking' (purple) already up and growing ... in fact, the Monarda all around Casa IVG is already up and growing, despite the recent cold weather. After all, it is a member of the mint family, and one doesn't get rid of those easily! We make major exceptions for this one, however!
This is obviously the parent planting of the Snowdrops in this area of the garden, and it sure looks like things have gotten crowded enough that some have set off to establish homes elsewhere in the area, much to our delight ... the more the merrier as far as early spring bulbs are concerned!
Let's go a bit wider in this area to get some more perspective on these plantings and colonies ... now you can see how they've moved around a bit over the years ... naturalizing is what it's all about for me when it concerns bulbs ... yes, they're a lot of work to get started, but if one is patient over the following years, that's when the reward really starts to pay off. Of course, any perennial gardener already knows this, but I think it's worth reminding ourselves about this at times, especially when it relates to early Spring bulbs!
Despite my recent laments about the spotty performance of Dwarf Iris in our gardens, three of them have managed to sneak above ground since I last visited this area with the camera on Thursday! What a great surprise to find when we ventured to the back garden today! They came up remarkably quickly (I didn't see them on Thursday!) and have bloomed apparently the last two days, testimony to their ephemeral nature, as the one that looks purple is already a spent bloom ... the blue is fresh and current. These are such incredible little flowers, but I still wonder about expending much time, money and energy into growing them, given their spotty hardiness for us so far. We'd love to have a great mass of them ... but don't want to have to be planting them every year, so again, if anyone has great success stories to share about growing these Iris, please let us know. We'd love to be able to count on seeing them every year!
All in all, it was a great first Spring day here at Casa IVG ... the front beds got cleaned up and are sprouting all sorts of plants (including dandelions!) and the big wind up to Summer is starting with our earliest bulbular friends' (imminent) appearance. By this evening, all three of us were exhausted from today's work after dinner and conked out in our respective nesting places (recliners and couch) for a good portion of the night, so no Saturday Cinema here this week. But we all had more than sufficient fresh air, sunshine, warmth and work to wear us out, and when you add in a big dinner, it's easy to see why we all conked out for a while!
I think we're all contented with the arrival of Spring and all we got done today ... but it's going to be that yearly adjustment to the season (e.g. work and fresh air makes you sleepy!) that will send us into the full swing for the next few months in terms of planting. Weather permitting, we hope to get some more clean up done tomorrow, and perhaps even some seed planting ... we'll see how it goes, since the next few days are being forecast as fairly rainy. No matter what, we had some great flowers blooming on this, the first day of Spring! Let's hope old snow has finally been sent packing!