Are the Crocuses Up Yet?

crocus-dbg-lah-016This is the hardest time of the year for me. After growing up in California, I’m used to spring starting about now. I want to get growing now—not wait for two or three extra months! So today, in defiance of Colorado’s climate, I’m going to give you some crocus growing tips. Take that, winter!

While the snow has mostly melted, even the recent warm temperatures haven’t been enough to thaw my soil. The perennial bed looks exactly how it did a month ago—brown and lifeless. However, by blogging friend Carey (at Carey Moonbeam), across town and a smidgen lower in elevation than I am, reports she has blooming crocuses in her yard!

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Gardeners, Start Your Bulbs!

crocus-blackforest-27mar2006-lah-001-cropThe first crocus of spring. Sunny yellow daffodils naturalized under trees. Beds full of crimson tulips—it all starts now.

After gardening all summer, it’s hard to add yet another chore to the pile of things to do this month, but planting bulbs should be near the top of the list. Getting them in early not only affords you the best selection at the garden center, but gives roots time to grow in still-warm soil, preventing frost heave and providing the best start to next spring’s bloom.

Pick a location that gets plenty of sunlight, particularly if you intend for your bulbs to come back year after year. Most bulb species bloom well the first year, but here in Colorado they tend to diminish with each successive growing season. Especially in the case of tulips, assume that you will need to replace them annually for the best display. Even other species will need ideal growing conditions if they are to increase in size and number.

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White on White

We had several inches of snow last night. The fields are white. The driveway is white. In fact, pretty much the only color outside is… white. At least right now the sky is blue.

Now tell me—why do we plant early bulbs with flowers that are white? If snowdrops came in scarlet and crimson, I’d be first in line to buy some. At least crocuses come in yellow and lavender.

At least daffodils are yellow!

My favorite early bloomers are Tête-à-Tête daffodils. Their intense golden yellow color is just what I need after a winter of muted pastels and dead brown. They shrug off each Spring storm, emerging from the melting snow with all their bright cheer unscathed.

I’m sure white flowers have their place. There’s nothing like an all-white flower garden seen by summer moonlight. I like white daisies and white baby’s breath. But at this time of year, when everything in me yearns for color, growing white flowers makes no sense at all!