Friday, February 22, 2008

We Have Ignition

The weather diagnosis called for 100% rain. It must have evaporated before it got here. A grey blustery morning turned quite spring like by late afternoon. After a day of stacking stones I took a stroll through the ridge top garden to see what I would see.

The Snowdrops (Galanthus sp.) much like the Rhododendrons react to the cold by wilting. The flowers close, droop and the whole plant seemingly curls into itself trying to go back underground. The degree of their wilt increases as the temperature drops. Soon enough I may be able to tell the temperature by how tightly the Rhododendrons leaves are wrapped or how droopy the snowdrops are. In the warmth the opposite happens. The flowers open fully revealing the green edging in the center petals, announcing they are open for business.

I already know there are more clumps of bulbs I can see than when I took the census on Tuesday. I will take another census next week. I also think I need to up the average number of bulbs per clump to 25. And now I am seeing the first few actual flower buds. I sure hope there is not a repeat of the Great Easter Freeze of '07' that wiped out last year's bloom at its peak. I want my first year to be spectacular, to get me hooked so to speak.

This is what I believe to be the emerging foliage of the Wood Hyacinth or Spanish Bluebells, Hyacinthoides hispanica. It is not coming up so much in clumps as in waves and the waves are getting bigger.

These look suspiciously like Tulips which the resident gardeners dismiss on a regular basis as not being worth the hassle. Why waste your money on a mere annual? It must be those damn bulb catalogs with their alluring descriptions and big promises that make them succumb on occasion.

For now the snowdrops are all I have. It looks a bit like a bug ready to take flight.

But the Snowdrops are the first sign that I may have survived the winter intact.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Whooo hoooo Come on spring.

Anonymous said...

Interesting; we were forecast a big ice storm in Va./Md. with all sorts of disastrous scenarios and - a little drizzle instead. It scared the school people enough to cancel school for my senioritis-afflicted senior though. So what happened to this storm? Didn't make it to Carolina either i guess.

I agree with your Spanish hyacinth or bluebells ID - they look like mine.

Anonymous said...

Oops; that was me, Bev, in the previous comment. Still haven't figured out this new ID thing.


chuck b. said...

I agree: tulips! I really think you might have some exciting species or heirlooms going on here.

"I want my first year to be spectacular, to get me hooked so to speak."

Yeah, right. Like you're not already hooked.

Frances said...

Those are tulips. Some return for years here, even the cheapo WalMart bags, other never even come up the first year. I believe it is the drainage issue, or they get eaten by varmints, squirrel and voles are our worst problem with them. What a show you are going to have when those bluebells, or whatever they are bloom. The late frost we had last year was devastating, may we never live to see such a thing occur again.

Frances at Faire Garden

Robin's Nesting Place said...

It won't be long until you have spring blooms! Can't wait to see them!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Love those Snowdrops! I've pretty much given up on Tulips not because they act like annuals (I have 1 clump that doesn't), but because I can't protect them from the rabbits! They grow so fast that I'd have to spray them with critter repellant every day. Miss 1 day & goodbye.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I always think that they look like a rabbit face with droopy ears. :)

Maybe it would be better if this year isn't spectacular, though. Maybe if you see the promise of what could be instead of a full-blown show, that will be what actually hooks you... makes you want to stay around to wait for the next year, and the year after that.

Christopher C. NC said...

It will be interesting to see if these Tulips bloom. Surprisingly we seem to have little herbivore foraging damage for being in the middle of the woods. The resident gardeners think there is so much natural food they are mostly spared.

Yes I can see a droopy eared wabbit, but I still want spectacular this spring. There has been a lot of hype over the years that needs to be lived up to.

Annie in Austin said...

The snowdrops are so vigorous! They're a real treasure, Christopher.

Some tulips were pretty reliable in Illinois- usually the ones in places that got dry and baked in summer but had early spring moisture. You can usually tell pretty early which ones will bloom because the bud comes up while the leaves still have a little 'clasp' to them.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose