Spring is Ephemeral in February

First crocus of 2022 peeking out of the leaf litter.
First crocus of 2022 peeking out of the leaf litter.

Temperatures are trying hard to reach seventy today.

Most flowers take a few days of warmth to wake up, taking their cues from the soil rather than the air, and the soil is still frozen. Our new narcissus plantings in the Row Garden don't have much soil structure yet, so there's evidence of frost heaving: cracks in the ground from expansion and contraction due to changes in teperature.

A few of the new bulbs planted last fall have heaved out of the ground, but most of them had enough roots down to stay put. Some are even taking advantage of the gaps and shouldering a shoot or two out.

Two narcissus shoots.
Two narcissus shoots.

These are a variety called Bridal Crown that we divided in the fall. Last season they first bloomed in late March after a mild start to the year. We're interested to see what they'll do after the colder winter.

They're not the only plants making headway against the winter. After the first hellebore bloomed, the rest of them took the hint and sprung into action. The plants don't look great right now, but we don't cut those raggedy winter leaves off until there's no green left at all. They need every bit of photosynthesis they can get right now.

Hellebore bud getting ready to open.
Hellebore bud getting ready to open.

Last week I was asked by another professional grower why I keep adding hellebores, which I think is a question that answers itself: I keep adding hellebores because I still haven't completely run out of space for them.


If the weather holds, I'll keep pruning the apples and roses, and maybe move on to the seed heads. But since there's rain in the forecast, my backup task is seeding a flat of snapdragons and a flat of statice. The ones I planted last fall were winter-killed, and I don't want to be without.

The sweet pea seedlings are ready for hardening off, so I'll start taking them on field trips this week, with the goal of planting them out in early March.

And finally, I just heard that my big rose order shipped, which means the Rose Garden will need some more love. I've been thining about asking the kids to mock up some garden layouts in Animal Crossing.