Like the little train who could, spring has done it. She made an arrival last week and opened a ton of flowers but then got nervous, and ducked backstage again. It’s a start though and I’ll take it!
Last Tuesday wasn’t exactly the day it all happened, but it was a start, and once we got over the freezing mornings of midweek, winter cracked and the thermometer rose to nearly 80F (26C) for Friday and Saturday. This is what everything was waiting for, and all of a sudden spring raced ahead another week or two.
The ‘Tweety Bird’ narcissus are one of the first daffodils to open here, right alongside the smaller ‘Tete a Tete’. They’re almost too bright, but of course it’s the color you want after all that grey. I think it goes along great with the pinks and purples of the Corydalis solida. They open at the same time (at the earliest end of the daffodil season) and as I spread the little tubers of Corydalis ‘Beth Evans’ around the garden, a temporary pink carpet is starting to take shape.
For a couple of years the corydalis have been selfseeding, and in an effort to diversify I’ve added a few fancier colors to the gene pool. I probably shouldn’t have bothered though, since the seedlings seem to diversify well enough on their own and all kinds of new shades are showing up. Plus to my eye even the most exceptional named forms don’t seem stand-out better than what I’ve already got. Still, a dark red or garnet, and a white were what was missing from the garden so I’m glad to see that deficit has been repaired.
Corydalis cover a pretty good part of the earliest spring spectrum but a few other things are also making the garden look alive again. Hyacinths are doing their part, and although the big floppy hybrids are nice enough, my absolute favorite is one of the multiflowering types, ‘Anastasia’.
The pink and white versions of this hyacinth (‘Pink Festival’, ‘White Festival’) just don’t do as much for me, as well as the plain green stemmed blue version (‘Blue Festival’), but then I have to admit I’m not as in to baby shower colors in the garden, so if that’s your taste…. so be it. In the meantime I’m holding my breath for hellebore season.
I can’t remember the last time the hellebores came up so nicely, it’s become habit to expect a frigid arctic blast to come along and melt the flower stems and blacken the new foliage. I forgot how nice they can be, and how occasionally they even rival the catalog photos.
The majority of my plants are from seed and this spring reminds me that I should absolutely start a few new batches and maybe make another attempt to clear out the ones which don’t thrill me as much as they could. To be honest I find it more exciting to experience the surprise of the first flowers opening on a new batch of seedlings than to have a reliable, amazing, purchased plant that comes back faithfully each year. I don’t know if that speaks well of me, but I do like seeing the new!
Hopefully in the next week or two I’ll be able to experience the best of both worlds with both new seedlings and also reliable returns… that is assuming the weather continues to warm. As I write it’s snowing again and spring is apparently having a little bit of stage fright. I’ll try to keep things optimistic though, so I’ll leave you with one last favorite.
Have a great week. Hopefully the sun shines and even if it doesn’t at least there’s finally some hope for the 2018 season.