Spring is beginning. This week I saw the first snowdrop open, stopped me in my tracks. If anyone ever wonders why I’m running late..
They were growing above a little stone wall in a garden I like on 9th. I’ve been checking my favorite neighborhood gardens to see how things survived the unusually cold and icy weather over the last two months. On Monday morning I went for my run/walk and had a look at a particular grove of rice paper plant (Tetrapanax.) They looked okaaay. Maybe nervous. No leaves left, but just the tips of the 10 to 12 foot stalks looked burned. Time will tell how those more tender species fare.
Meanwhile, the warriors of winter appear. Witch hazel, Dawn viburnum, Winter jasmine, Sweet box and Parrotia are splendid, and if you catch them during a warm hour, all amazingly fragrant. Last year the blooms hardly missed a beat – the Dawn vibe started blooming in November and went right through the end of March. This season there was a clean break with the old year.
Opening too, are Hellebore and Winter Daphne. On cue, in time for St. Valentine’s day. Narcissus and crocus are nosing up, and I spotted a few Iberis starting their long run. Here and there a Rhododendron is showing color, just the lightest pink ones come first. The progression continues, intensifying in saturation and quantity, till mid May, when the city looks like a circus. Or the Betsy Johnson shop in Pioneer Square.
By that time I’ll barely be able to keep track of the action, with new genera unfurling or folding from day to day. But for now I’ll count snowdrops like blessings, along with the extra minutes of daylight.