I posted this photo on Fb earlier this week, and many responses from “locals” was “It’s too early!” After all, it is just mid-March, but checking my bloom journal for the prior three years the spring blooms are actually right on schedule. And, it’s NEVER too early for me to see those first early blooms of the year!
And, these weren’t the first blooms because the snowdrops, tiny as they were started off the season on February 23. As eager as we are, Hoosiers in north central Indiana recognize that even though snowdrops are in bloom, Spring has not yet arrived.
But the crocuses weren’t far behind, opening their first blooms on March 2 and weren’t the bees thrilled to find them!
I’ve planted a variety of crocuses in the gardens to extend their bloom period. The species crocus C. chrysanthus “Cream Beauty” are always the first to bloom. The chrysanthus come in a variety of colors, and I’m thinking of adding some lobelia blue ones called “Blue Pearl” this fall. A mixture from ColorBlends called “Vernal Jewels” blooms next (3/6) They don’t list the species name, but the white ones bloom first, followed by creamy yellow and pale lavender. C. sieberi “Tricolor” comes next, opening on March 16 this year.
The “Tommies” or C. tommasinianus are next. The one I grow is “Lilac Beauty.” Some people claim the “Tommies” are not dug up and moved by squirrels as readily as the other crocus, but I haven’t kept close enough records to be able to verify that. The winter aconites are next to bloom in my gardens, although I know in some areas they bloom earlier.
Isn’t it interesting that so many of the early spring bloomers are bright yellow? Maybe so the bees can find them easily? Crocus, winter aconites, daffodils, dandelions!
The top photo of this post shows the first hellebore (a single pink that was supposed to be peachy salmon) some iris reticulata in a luscious blue, and far right, more Tricolor crocuses. For some reason, the iris reticulata there blooms in dense shade well before the ones shown below which are in full sun!
As a side note, the potager’s interior border lost lots of perennials this winter. See how bare it looks? All of the hollyhocks rotted, hardly any snapdragons overwintered. Most of the feverfew has disappeared, along with a lot of the tall blue salvia and anise hyssop. It was just too wet for too long, and there was no insulating snow cover during the coldest periods.
About the same time the iris reticulata are at full bloom, the large-flowered crocus begin to open (3/20). Most of mine are the very deep purple, which are grand multipliers, but I rarely see them listed in catalogs except occasionally as part of a mixture. I hurried out to take this photo last evening, before big storms and four days of rain arrive to beat the petals. I fear their show may be brief this year.
And yesterday, the first daffodils opened, the dainty Tete e Tete! There are lots of daffodil buds forming on other varieties so it won’t be long before the picking begins.
The daffodil bloom signals the start of major vegetable planting: peas, shallots, onion sets, and seeding a wide range of greens. I can’t wait to get started, but apparently I’ll need to wait for this major storm period to pass and a couple of nights in the upper 20’s are coming up so there’s no need to rush. I certainly don’t want my precious shallot bulbs to rot, and the peas will just lay there complaining until it warms a bit. So, it’s back to transplanting in the basement and working on the post project for most of this week. What do you have planned?