More Reliable Than The Groundhog's Shadow: Spring Blooms Are On The Way
Updated: Jan 10, 2022
Terri called me a couple of weeks ago -- while our weather was still unseasonably warm, just a few days before the snowflakes fell to accumulate in a 7-inch blanket over a matter of hours. You'll remember that Terri has long been a vegetable gardener but is new to flower cultivation. She mentioned the bulbs she had planted early in the fall, wondering what effect the warm weather would have on the plants she hoped to enjoy this spring.
Some of my bulbs had already pushed up fourth- and half-inch sprouts above the surface of the soil, warming themselves in the spring-like sun. I had spied them peaking out of the mulch in the usual spot for my early-bird plants -- a full-sun bed that I haven't kept mulched deeply enough over the years. I understood Terri's concern; I had felt the same thing in the early years of gardening. This year, my worry wasn't for my established bulbs, but for those new to my backyard gardens. Luckily, though, my newly planted bulbs seem to be staying under wraps. Perhaps I got them deep enough to keep them happy underground, although I'm surprised because they were late to arrive from the supplier and I was in a hurry to plant them before Thanksgiving guests arrived. Maybe I wasn't as careless as I had feared when I planted them.
So in our conversation, Terri shared her excitement over the daffodils she planted this fall, and her hopes that the purple tulips she has had in the past are still around despite a major bed renovation which may have dislodged them. She was worried about the predicted cold snap. "Oh, they'll be fine!" I assured her. "Their little tips might get frostbitten by the cold, but they'll still bloom and look beautiful!"
And they will, as my experience tells me. Every year, I see the pointed, broad tips of tulip leaves and thinner daffodil greenery poking through the ground long before the last snow has fallen. Yes, this year it seems as if these plants have sought the surface at least a couple of weeks sooner than normal, but I'm not worried. They are much more hardy than their delicate-looking blossoms would have us think. The cold may sting them a little, but a few days into February, they will stand tall with lovely blooms to brighten our gray winter days.