It’s official, spring is now here. This week marks that magic moment when our days finally become longer than our nights. Of course there is no guarantee that any of these days will actually have the sun shining but it is at least encouraging to know that the potential is there to experience, on the average, 3 more minutes of daylight every day from now until the summer solstice, at which time we start losing 3 minutes a day until we hit the fall equinox when once again the days become shorter than the nights. I find sometimes it is better not to dwell on this kind of information and just appreciate each day as it unfolds. Call me simple minded if you like but this is how I stay sane.
So speaking of staying sane, one thing I like to do frequently is to walk in my garden and take inventory of what is blooming. I am not so anal as to keep a journal, although at one time I had the brilliant idea to track when each plant in my garden came into bloom and for how long, thinking that after 12 months I would have this wonderful chart for future reference. (Like most New Year’s resolutions, this idea never quite came to fruition.) Instead, this week, just for fun, I toured the nursery to see what was blooming and I came up with an impressive list. Here is what I observed.
BULBS: I found six different spring flowering bulbs in full bloom including daffodils, hyacinth, crocus, fritillaries, snow drops, and Pushkinia.
TREES: I observed four blooming trees including Cornelian cherry, flowering plum, an early blooming cherry, and a weeping pussy willow.
SHRUBS: I found eleven different shrubs in bloom which included Camellia, Quince, Pieris, Daphne, Winter Hazel, Forsythia, Skimmia, Stachyurus, Viburnum “Dawn”, and two early blooming rhodies.
PERENNIALS: Believe it or not, I observed eighteen different perennials in bloom including Primrose, Hellebore, Heather, Wall Flower, Iceland Poppy, Euphorbia, English Daisy, Vinca, Candy Tuft, Aubretia, Arabis, Saxifrage, Veronica, Pulmonaria, Bleeding Heart, Cyclamen, Brunnera, and Viola.
Now, the point here is not to make you feel inadequate for not having many of these plants growing in your garden (although I am not above shaming you into buying some) but rather to invite you to tour your favorite garden center and see for yourself what might be missing and worthy of incorporating into your little patch of heaven. Obviously, most of us don’t have the luxury of planting all of the above plants simply because we have neither the room nor the energy to maintain them. But surely, one or two more shrubs, a handful of bulbs, and several perennials would go a long way to adding more interest to the garden and if you wait until April or May to do your shopping you will miss these early bloomers entirely.
If it sounds like I am groveling for customers I suppose there is some truth to that, but mostly I want you to be able to experience the same degree of pleasure that I receive having many of these precocious plants in my garden at a time of the year when we all could use a pick-me-up. It’s amazing how one or two brightly colored flowers can lift our spirits on an otherwise cloudy and gloomy day. Go take inventory of what’s blooming in your garden and see if you don’t have room for a few new happy faces.