I tend to think of spring as soft and sweet. But this spring has started off with a chip on its shoulder. After a few days of teasing warmer weather, the chill of cold air has returned this week. I know the cold will ebb before too long, but the frigid nights this week have encouraged the daffodils to bide their time. If the nights had stayed warm, the daffodils would have made an early appearance. But, everything in its time, as always.
Before the daffodils put on their exuberant show, blooms still abound if you know where to look. The Siberian squill, for instance, are so low to the ground it is easy to pass them by. The bees never forget the squill, however, and are constantly buzzing about on warm days gathering the blue pollen.
The North Garden is host to two of my favorite early bloomers: Fritillaria ‘Early Fantasy’ and oxlip (Primula elatior). The oxlip is blooming by the path leading into the Bosquet. The soft yellow faces of the flowers are just what my heart needs on gray, dreary days. They are cheerful without being in your face about it. The sweetest reminder that brighter days are coming. Fritillary ‘Early Fantasy’ stands tall in the garden at the beginning of April, reigning over all that is about to bloom. Even the foliage reaching above the flower looks like a crown, adding to the authoritative stance of this upstanding garden citizen.
The final harbinger of spring that I will mention is the Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas). This relatively small, multi-stemmed tree is one of the first to burst into radiant bloom. Before the leaves emerge, the end of each branch is covered in brilliant umbels that are beloved by pollinators. Although this specimen is tucked down Love Lane (just before the wedding pavilion), its yellow blooms peek into view enough to call my attention. This is the turning point for me. This is when it has not quite warmed up yet, but I know it will before long. When hope is on the way.
If you are looking for a daffodil update, know that the time is coming soon! The first blossoms have begun to open, but we are still a couple weeks out from full bloom. The second and third week of April tend to be the peak bloom for our daffodil collection. If you are worried about missing them, simply become a member and visit often!