Gardening with Micki: Sign of spring early this year

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The first daffodils of spring appeared in my garden this past week. To me, that’s a sure sign of spring, no matter what that East Coast groundhog predicts. There’s only a trio of daffodils, but there is the budding promise of a quartet soon.

These bulbs were planted last fall because daffodils like to spend the winter underground. According to one of my favorite sources, “Gardening Made Easy” by Better Homes & Garden, the authors note: “All bulbs, especially daffodils, have one thing in common: an underground storage system for nutrients that power their growth and fuel their blooms. Inside each bulb is nearly everything the plant needs to sprout and flower.”

In fact, BH&G notes: “You can slice open a hyacinth bulb and see the tiny flowers — like an embryo.” Ouch! That sounds painful to the flower’s budding future. Daffodils have one advantage over some other spring flowers. They are hardy and can stand the cold days that make spring weather unpredictable. Most summer flowering bulbs are tender and cannot survive hard winters.”

I love this quote from BH&G. "Early-blooming bulbs are simply amazing. Some have evolved and bloom so early they often push up through the snow to show their stuff. Hardy and resistant, spring bulbs typically bloom from February through May."

Among other bulbs to plant for spring are crocus, grape hyacinth, summer snowflake, narcissus and of course, the ever popular tulips. They are considered to be spring’s quintessential flower and grow well in planting/blooming zones four to nine, which includes Oklahoma.

The summer snowflake is what I call a “droopy” flower. Of European heritage, it has an unusual upside down posture. It has a white upside down bloom, and each bloom has a tiny green circle, matching its stem.

The current issue of BH&G features tiny spring bulbs on its cover. These are perfect planting companions for daffodils. They include Siberian and striped squill, aconite, snowdrop, rock garden iris winter aconite, Grecian windflower and glory of the snow, one of my favorites.

There is an interesting caution regarding all floral bulbs. These flowers are breeders and spawn plants while living underground and hidden before blooming. The lives of plants are mysterious and fascinating. Meanwhile, I’m waiting for my tulips to bloom. 

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