The daffodils began blooming on February 20. This was extremely early for Spring to appear in South Charleston, West Virginia. And it was not the little daffodils breaking forth first, but the hordes down the hillside where I have spread bulbs in the 30 years we’ve lived in this house. I am enclosing three pictures in this post, two showing the hillside in front, and one showing the blooming bulbs in back of the house. Not shown are the blooms around the gardens, the blooms in between our neighbor’s house and ours, or any of the blooms we have encouraged at the interface between mowed lawn and natural woodland on the side of our property. Indeed, at times like this when all of the bulbs burst forth simultaneously, you can see the thousands of blooms we have in our yard, and I have the pleasure of knowing I’ve placed a majority of these bulbs myself. I grin when I see the bees grabbing the pollen from these early flowers.
I have not purchased bulbs for years. The last virgin bulbs I planted were left over from Easter displays at our church, where the blooms we sponsored became available after everyone tired of the Easter joy. That’s where the small daffodils which normally pop out first showed up. Not this year. The only bulbs not showing up are the jonquils, which always come last, and have multiple flowers per stem, so they appear to keep the bloom parade on track. Instead of purchasing bulbs, I let the greenery die down naturally, and that leads to giving enough energy to allow the bulbs to bud with new bulbs. Since these new bulbs always are higher than the parent bulbs, eventually the bulbs crowd the surface, and show up when I am weeding the beds. That is my prompt to dig up the bulbs, and replace a few back into the original holes, where they begin to repeat the cycle. I’ve dug up hundreds of bulbs in some years, and distributed them to relatives across the country, and to many in this city. It is always good to hear others talk about the blooms they have each Spring due to our efforts.
We subscribe to the New York Times. One of the commentators I enjoy is Margaret Renkl, who is based on Nashville and sometimes writes on the nature she sees outside of her window. On March 6 her column was titled ”The Beautiful and Terrifying Arrival of an Early Spring”. She commented on what she was seeing (blooming bulbs, flowering trees bursting out into full color, and birds confused on what signals to follow as part of their annual routine). She mentioned the risk these early spring adopters ran from late winter cold snaps. Well, we are now in the midst of several days with lows in the low 20’s Fahrenheit, and we are running the risk of ruining the early blooms. So far the daffodils seem impervious to the cold, but we will see what happens to the Lenten Roses and the flowering cherry tree now bursting forth to declare Spring officially here. We just had a story about the storm of the century, back in ’93. We were here for that blizzard, so we know winter still can throw a nasty trick at us. But somehow, I think the plants and animals in this area will adjust to the vagaries of the weather, and even if some of the blooms are withered by the late cold, we can look forward to the days ahead where the daylight savings time change enables later afternoon, and soon evening work hours in the warmer temperatures of Spring.