Posted on: February 6, 2020 | Written By: Doug Oster |
When snowdrops emerge, I run around the house yelling wildly, “it’s spring, it’s spring!” My wife just shakes her head and mumbles something about the snow and cold yet to come. My response is always the same, “something is blooming, there’s no stopping us now, the season has begun.”
I’ve seen the bulbs bloom as early as January 15th, this year it’s February 9th. When winter returns, the flowers will stay in a sort of suspended animation, happily shaking off the most bitter temperatures. When things warm up, they will continue to poke up and bloom followed by a litany of spring bloomers.
Snowdrops are supposed to bloom early, it’s some of the other bulbs which are concerning to gardeners. There are daffodils in my garden which someone planted between the house and the sidewalk. Not only is the foliage up, buds are there too. There’s good news and bad news when it comes to early sprouting bulbs and it’s the same. There’s nothing we can do about it. Nature has been dealing with this for centuries. Covering the fragile sprouts and buds will only damage them. My early daffodils always bloom, and are always laid prostrate with cold temperatures. They will resurrect themselves only a day or two later as the sun warms the sidewalk in the afternoon.
Some years early daffodils will sprout, push up buds and then be frozen, called bud blast. It happens once or twice in a decade. In those cases, we’ll have to wait another year to see those flowers bloom. It’s the reason gardeners plant early, mid and late season varieties.
When a bulb only sends up foliage, which we’re seeing now with tulips, don’t worry. The plant is just checking things out to see if it’s the right time to bloom. Most of the time they will wait until the days are longer and warmer to put on their spring show.
As bulbs start to come up, take some pictures or draw a map in your garden journal. Keep this up until after all the bulbs are done blooming and you’ll know what to plant where when the time is right.
The garden season has begun. If you don’t have snowdrops to tell you that, make sure you get them in the ground this fall.
Until then, I’ll be heralding the return of “spring” to anyone who will listen.
Doug Oster is editor of Everybody Gardens, a website operated by 535Media, LLC. Reach him at 412-965-3278 or firstname.lastname@example.org. See other stories, videos, blogs, tips and more at everybodygardens.com.