As I look out my window and see the piles of snow slowly melting away, I sit back and reflect on the long Winter we have had. It has been an extremely long season, filled with cold and blustery days, gray skies, and thankfully, below average snowfalls. It is quite a bleak scene with bare trees, brown grass, dirty piles of residual snow and not a flower in sight… Until now!
As I strolled through my yard on a mild March day recently, I caught sight of something beautiful. My Spring bulbs have finally begun to break through the ground! This is truly a sight for sore eyes. Daffodils and Hyacinths are sprouting and Crocuses have not only broken ground, but they are blooming. Crocuses are one of the first bulbs to bloom come Springtime, quite often forcing their way through the snow to show off their happy faces. Spring flowers not only make me smile due to their beauty, but as well, it means that my Spring and Summer birds can’t be far away from returning to my yard. (As I write this, I’m listening to a Red-Winged Blackbird happily singing outside my window.)
Little Purple Flower
How I love thee
As Winter snow fades
You’re the first flower I see
Little bulb under the ground
Reach up through the dirt and be free
Open by day, closed by night
Providing sweet nectar for the season’s first bee
Crocuses are available in a variety of colors including blue, purple, yellow, white and various variegated varieties.Crocuses are actually part of the Iris family and not really a true bulb, but a corm. They are super easy to grow, inexpensive and do not require much care once planted.
Planting instructions are simple. Choose a site with full sun to light shade and well-drained soil. Crocuses, as with most bulbs, should be planted in the fall, 6-8 weeks before the last hard frost, this is usually in September and October in the North and October and November in the South. Plant the corms, pointy side up, about 4 inches (10 cm) deep and 3-4 inches (7.5-10 cm) apart. Plant alone or in groups for best visual effect. Water thoroughly after planting and once Spring arrives, you’ll be greeted with beautiful pops of color to brighten any gray day.
Spring Crocus blossoms provide some of the first pollen and nectar for hungry bees. Once Spring arrives, bees need an ample supply of nectar to replenish their diminished honey stock. Tailoring your gardens to include nectar producing plants not only helps bees, which are in serious decline due to pesticide use, but will also help to attract many birds to your backyard.
The calendar may say that it’s officially Spring, but it still feels like winter here. Take a walk around your yard and see what’s popping up through the ground. You just might be surprised to find that Spring is closer than you think.