Sure Signs Of Spring

snowdrops.jpgI have had some signs of our very early spring. Piles of snow in April.  Hellebores encased in ice.  Yews whose foliage is bright orange from  exposure to cold, wind and salt.  White leaved tips on boxwood tell the same tale.  Broken and smashed boxwood-those people plowing snow for days and months on end hardly knew where to start or end their efforts.  Every rhododendron I have seen has damage of one sort or another.  But there are some signs of spring that are as right as rain.

crocus.jpgI had no idea what my crocus would do, considering the length and the severity of our winter.  Would they come up in March, sense the three feet of snow overhead, and give up?  Would they bloom late, pout about a season that did not favor them, and peter out overnight?  Would they stay put below ground, in anticipation of a better spring next year?

crocus.jpgMy worries were unfounded.  Lots of my worries about the garden have much more to do with me, than how nature responds to challenging conditions.  This early spring has made clear that the smartest move I could make as a gardener is to carefully observe natural phenomena.  And take comfort in the fact that nature is eminently able to handle trouble. I may have been laid low by this winter, but today I have crocus in bloom better than I have ever had them. When I got home from work tonight, I was astonished.  My field of crocus-a sure sign of spring.

crocus.jpgThe crocus are very low to the ground. I would recommend that you take the effort to get down and take a few moments to appreciate them.  I am making a very special effort, as they are the first sign of spring in my garden.  These Pickwick crocus are gorgeous today.

crocus.jpgThe life of the gardener is not convenient, predictable, or easy. That said, I would say that every plant in my garden has had a hell of a winter.  Their troubles are much more trying than mine. Any plant that managed to survive the winter we have just lived through deserves my recognition.

crocus.jpgThe crocus wide open in the sun the second week of April- hear hear.  Well done.  Thank you.  So glad to see you.

crocus.jpg The crocus blooming is a sure sign of spring.  These tiny plants blooming big bring me a substantial sigh of relief.  The coming of the crocus in my zone means that spring cannot be far behind. So incredibly beautiful, the crocus in early spring.  Every gardener that I know appreciates the little treasures.  They have a sure idea about what constitutes a big treasure.  The big treasure are those small moments.  Gardeners one and all, I am happy to know you.  Having a crocus moment?  Write me.  Thanks, Deborah



  1. deborah you are mirroring my day. your first image is nearly exact of what i took today as i scanned a clients garden. all 50 fall planted taxus hicks are flaming orange, uggggh
    but the life affirming blooms soothed this battered soul (and that was only the first clients property!)

  2. beverly poppleton (bonnie) says

    Dear Deborah,
    I was watching for a message from you about the change in weather and in what condition you have found your plants after the hard winter weather.
    Love the crocus.
    I am wondering if you are feeding your boxwood, or just letting them get some sun and rain to see what they are going to do. Mine also have white leaves where the wind and cold hit them. I expect we will be hearing more from you now spring has arrived. I look forward to every one of your blogs.

    Bonnie from Maine

  3. I should have my gardener card revoked as I don’t care for crocus! Isn’t that awful? But my lovely ice folly daffodils erupted into bloom this morning and I admired them obnoxiously long. Not sure they have ever been more beautiful! I also can’t take my eyes off my flats of seedlings or emerging peonies. For the first time, I am successfully growing delphinium from seed! I try most years, and most years they disappoint and never germinate. All of the sudden I am invigorated by spring!

  4. Hi, Deborah! What a lovely post! I am having a crocus moment….spring has been a long time coming and perhaps have we rarely been so glad to see it? We have daffodils and forsythia breaking here in Cincinnati and just now starting to get low brush with leaves budding. I have been watching and waiting for quite a while now! I just had a great conversation with my 8 year-old son about observing the landscape and watching for changes. I agree….one of the most important things we do is just watch Mother Nature. Yes, gardeners, I am happy to know all of you as well! Enjoy the ride this spring!

  5. I may too be very exited by the crocuses in my garden but my sight is inevitably drawn to the black canes of my climbing roses that, I am pretty sure, are gone after this brutal winter in Wisconsin. Being zone five (roses), they survived all these years until now. Lesson learned: don’t be attached too much. Thanks for your blog, Yui

  6. So happy for you! Your crocus are lovely. Glad you have survivors

  7. Silvia Weber says

    A sight for sore eyes ~ the crocus and Snow Drops! Especially after discovering so much death and destruction: we lost ALL seven of our Dragon Lady Hollies, planted 15 years ago – dead as door nails! The Cyprus Blue Ice has more brown than blue. Boxwoods have coatings of dead, dried leaves., etc .
    We think a trip to DGW will do us good! We are on our way! Looking forward to the Spring Fair and seeing you Deborah!
    (BTW, we were invited to be on the Garden Conservancy Tour this summer in July – lots of work to do !) Gerry and Silvia

  8. My tiny yellow crocus are blooming in the cracks of my flagstone sidewalk. It was twenty some years ago that I saw your creation at Mimi M’s house on Mackinac Island, the inspriration for my favorite garden. It’s time to plant the pansie that welecome me home with smiling faces. Tomorrow is another colorful adventure – The Detroit Garden Works Openhouse. Can’t wait.

  9. I am also having a crocus moment. Finally ,spring may be here in western PA. For a few days,
    may get a little snow on Tuesday. But seeing my crocuses has renewed my spirit. Looking forward to visiting all my favorite local nurseries as one by one they have begun to open. Happy Spring to all!

  10. Hi Deborah! I’m a young gardener, wife, and mother living in Grand Rapids. I’m a transplant from Louisiana and have learned all about gardening in this zone from reading your blog. It’s because of you I look for the crocus every spring! They were gorgeous this weekend. Thank you for writing.

  11. Jenn Smith says


    As we are getting snow this am, i’m sure my crocuses will look amazing popping out from the white underneath. I have a question on the evergreens though. I have a few evergreen shrubs in my landscape and from our bitter winter here in Wisconsin they have turned brown and the needles are dropping. Some of the plant is still green, I am wondering if these will break out of this? Push new growth? Should I fertilize them to encourage extra growth? I just don’t want to lose them and don’t want them to remain brown….

    Think Spring 🙂

    • Deborah Silver says

      I would wait as long as possible before doing anything. Plants have a huge will to live. Give them a chance and see what they have in mind for themselves, before intervening. Don’t fertilize yet-too stressful. I am waiting, until I see some sort of response-or lack thereof. Hoping for the best for you, Deborah

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