What's blooming and happening now

Jim McKenney jamesamckenney@verizon.net
Thu, 01 Mar 2012 18:24:51 PST
Temperatures topped  70⁰ F today (> 21⁰ C) and things are really popping. In the mornings there are flocks of geese in the sky heading north; in the garden there are flocks of robins, also heading north. Titmice, chickadees, cardinals and Carolina wrens are all calling freely now. 

Interesting crocuses in bloom now, in addition to the so-called chrysanthus hybrids, are Crocus reticulatus and two forms of Crocus etruscus, 'Zwanenburg' and 'Rosalind'.  Several years ago a firm from which I order bulbs began to offer a new crocus they were calling Crocus isauricus 'Spring Beauty' (the name is sometimes given as C. biflorus 'Spring Beauty') . I waited for the price to come down, and last fall I bit. The plants are blooming now and they are very handsome. But they are not true to name; instead, they are an old friend, Crocus minimus. 

In addition to crocuses, the earliest of the squills are starting. 

Somewhere in recent years I read that the daffodil 'Tête-à- Tête' is the most copiously produced daffodil of recent years. I have another daffodil blooming now, 'Golden Spur', which had almost the same dubious distinction nearly a century ago. At that time, only one of the paperwhite types was grown in greater volume for forcing. Beside one of the huge modern trumpets such as 'Marieke', 'Golden Spur' is puny indeed, but its size suits it better for combination with other small blooms of the season.   

I guess we all have our favorite signs of spring, those events in the natural world which tell us that spring has started. For some people it's crocuses, for others robins or Forsythia. I've been lucky enough to live in the same house for over fifty years, and our neighborhood is surrounded by heavily vegetated spaces and wetlands. As a result, for the last half century I've been able to listen for my favorite sign of spring, the choruses of the spring peeper frogs, by simply opening the back door of the house. Last night we had rain, and by lunch time today the peepers were in full chorus. If you have never heard peepers, take a listen here:


Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.021954º North, 77.052102º West, USDA zone 7
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