The Crocus

budded-crocus.jpgI’ve been told that our spring season is lagging behind the norm a good 3 weeks.  Every gardener I talk to is sick and tired of the winter that will not let go.  I was dressed to the nines today-meaning my winter coat, hat, and gloves.  Last year, at this time, we were 4 weeks ahead of the norm.  Who knew April 29th the overnight temperature would be 24 degrees.  What conclusion can be drawn from the fact that April 21 this year is 7 weeks behind April 21 of last year?  In my opinion drawing a conclusion does not change the facts.  But at least my crocus made an appearance

The lengthy and late April freeze last year was dramatically destructive.  The magnolias failed to bloom. The crabapples-no one heard a peep out of them. The flowers of apples, cherries and pears froze, and dropped.   Disastrously late frosts dealt a killing blow to gardens, and fruit farmers. 2012-the spring that wasn’t.  But those frosts came after a long hot spell.  My crocus came up, and promptly passed out and melted in the heat.

crocus.jpgLast year’s spring disaster has had me on edge.  I have been watching the April weather as if I had nothing else to do.  Once my crocus appeared, I was sure the spring would be long, temperate, and rewarding.  Why so?  Crocus emerge from the ground early.  Though they look delicate, they are tough.  They emerge at that time when the transition from winter to spring is a big fluid situation.  They thrive on the conflict-or so I thought.

crocus-Pickwick.jpgThe hybrid crocus known as Pickwick is as beautiful as it is vigorous.  Crocus bulbs are small; you could hold 50 in one hand, in the fall.  Those fifty bulbs can light up an early spring garden.  A little package that contains a great gift-the small flowering spring bulbs.  Our spring has been very very cold and equally as gray.  It seems like I waited forever for a mild and sunny day to come along.

A great garden is all about an experience. That day when the crocus are open wide is a really good day.

purple-crocus.jpgThis cluster of crocus predates  my ownership of my property.  In a good year, I will have them a week.  In a bad year, not at all.

April-snow.jpgTwo nights ago-we had night temperatures right around 28 degrees.  And snow.  What could I do about it?  Nothing.

below-freezing.jpgEvery beautiful moment in the garden is just that-a moment.  My crocus this year-I had one half hour of one day to enjoy them.  Would I give up on the crocus?  Absolutely not.  That one moment of great beauty makes for a memory that will stay with me.  Was I disappointed?  terribly so.


  1. I find Scilla sibirica and Chionodoxa more able to take the cold and wet, they appear faithfully every year and they spread. The Scilla become a sea of blue, and the Chionodoxa form clumps and lift up their heads for our enjoyment.
    Our temperatures are the same here in Vermont and the wind has been ferocious every day until yesterday. I hate gardening in the wind!

    • Deborah Silver says

      Suzanne, What is it with that wind?? It has been relentless. I was on a landscape consultation in downtown Detroit the other day-I really worried that the wind would blow me over. My first small patch of chionodoxa is in bud-I have hopes! Deborah

  2. Camellia japonicas still blooming, quite odd, and the southern indica azaleas peaked yesterday, beginning to drop blossoms today.

    oakleaf hydrangea buds are pure fat white velvet today, as are the wisteria ‘amethyst falls’ buds.

    a few blossoms still on the espalier apple trees.

    beautiful, strange spring. xo t

    • Deborah Silver says

      Tara, our espaliered fruit trees are still in tight bud. No haze of green yet on the trees-except for the willows. My magnolia Stellata, which usually blooms in March-are “pure fat white velvet” buds today-as in any second something may happen. beautiful and strange-you are right. Deborah

  3. Julia Hofley says

    Two daffs have braved the weather and finally popped, but it’s so slow this year! Thank goodness for scilla, winter aconites, snowdrops, iris reticulata, arabis, hyacinths, pieris, hepatica, species tulips, primula juliae, cyclamen coum, witch hazel and my beloved hellebores. The buds on our old-fashioned flowering almond bush and the quince collection are swelling daily with this sunshine of late. Unlike last year, when the garden stage was overcrowded with leading ladies all at once~they didn’t last long and plants were oddly blooming together that shouldn’t know each other. I guess we are returning to our Michigan roots with the garden unfolding in an order where we can relish each ‘actor’ as they appear for their part in the spring show. I am thrilled to have acquired two new players to add to my spring garden from DGW Spring Fair – 2013 from Mark at Bogie Lake… Aurinia saxatalis ‘Summit’ (Basket of Gold) and Dwarf German Iris ‘Smart’, both early blooming spring perennials, especially the Aurinia. That golden color can be seen from across half an acre and the fragrance near the back door~a new spring delight.
    I will try the Chionodoxa next fall that you are mentioning~it sounds like a lovely stalwart for the spring garden.

    • Deborah Silver says

      Dear Julia, Your letter makes me feel better! Happy that I am a gardener. Thanks so much for writing it. Deborah

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