Posts Tagged ‘spring bulbs’

Benefits of a Cool Spring


Snowdrops last longer in a cool spring.

Spring has sprung, but a lot of us are still wearing winter coats. The temps are still a little cooler than usual, and the trend is supposed to go through the first two weeks of April. The good news is that spring ephemeral bulbs like snowdrops—the very first flowers to arrive—are sticking around for weeks instead of being a flash in the pan.

That means we may enjoy crocuses a little longer than normal too, once they show up. The slow, cool spring may be maddening but once we have a few rains, things are going to be popping up all over.

In the meantime, we have time to sort through our seeds for planting, clean our tools, and as soon as the garden centre is open in April, buy some early perennials, and soil amendments, like compost and manure. Remember, you can always plant spring bulbs in pots as well. So as soon as the ground is diggable, pop in a few pots of crocus, or grape hyacinths in some bare spots in your garden. They will come up year after year.

Forsythia Means Planting Time 

forsythia in bloom

Even before most trees leaf out, forsythia flowers emerge.

Forsythia means planting time.

When the forsythia is blooming it’s the “all clear” sign: a bright yellow beacon telling us that the soil and daytime temperatures have warmed up enough for us to start planting our gardens. Not everything, mind you, but we can plant a lot:

Plant when Forsythia blooms
  • Hardy perennials, shrubs, trees and roses.
  • Annual sweet peas. Annual pansies, violas.
  • Edibles: peas, spinach and cool vegetable crops.
  • Berry bushes and perennial vegetables like rhubarb and asparagus.
  • Hardy bulbs. Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, grape hyacinths, in a container for a seasonal display.
  • Pre-planted pots of flowering bulbs can be planted right into your garden. They’ll put down roots and come up again next season. It’s a good trick for those who didn’t get a chance to plant bulbs in the fall. (Like me!)
  • Perennial Herbs: sage, thyme, oregano
Wait for May 24th, or later
  • Heat-loving annual vegetables like tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, eggplant cucumbers and melons.
  • Tender herbs like basil


Signs of Life: Snowdrops & Ivy


Before the snow dumped onto my garden I was enjoying the sight of snowdrops and some ivy that was starting to look a bit more perky. Snowdrops are a must in a northern garden as they pop out of the ground even before the crocuses, sometimes appearing in February. Mine certainly did this year, and they are proof that winter is really on the way out. Even with a major snowfall like we got yesterday, they will remain untouched and still be blooming when the snow melts. Tough and pretty, these garden stalwarts. Every garden should have them.

Snowdrops Start Off A New Garden Season

snowdrops in bloom

Snowdrops are always the first to emerge. Galanthus elwesii. Crocus shoots are showing green tips.

With above zero temps and rain instead of snow, it’s safe to believe it’s spring. Although we had some well-past-their-welcome snowflakes in early April—causing much wailing and gnashing of teeth from gardeners—the growing season is now upon us and can only get better from here on in.

A new garden season always gets the blood pumping in a gardener’s veins. Now, it’s daily checking to see what’s popping up, scanning for green shoots—any green shoots!

Spring bulbs are the first shoots we spy, and snowdrops show their faces first. The large flowered variety, Galanthus elwesii, are the best in my garden: they pack a bigger punch, even in a small group. I’d love to have a huge swath of snowdrops, but in my tough, sandy garden full of competitive Norway maple tree roots, I am lucky to see a few snowdrops here and there. To behold a real flower emerging from the soil, after the winter we’ve had is an exquisite thrill. Plus it’s good exercise to bend low—in the case of snowdrops, very low—in order to see the delicate flowers close up. Consider it your gardener’s spring warm up?