One of the cheeriest sights for me in the winter is the first green tips of spring bulbs. Often, they have to push through the snow to get to the light. This is a clear sign to me that spring is on its way and that the dreariness and cold of winter are nearly done.
I don’t grow all of these bulbs in my garden, but I enjoy seeing them in my neighbors’ yards. On walks and runs around the neighborhood in early March, I keep my eyes open for them.
A snowdrop is a diminutive little flower, and many consider it a minor bulb, but I love it for the message it sends: warmer weather is just around the corner.
The leaves resemble large blades of grass, so they can be hard to spot at first, naturalized in people’s lawns. The snowdrop flower is unmistakable, though, with its hanging, bell-like white petals.
Far more popular in my neighborhood and easier to spot is the crocus, usually the next to appear after snowdrops. These too are often naturalized in yards, scattered through the grass and speckling lawns with cheerful purple, yellow, and white tulip-like flowers.
The next bulb to emerge is usually a toss up between some early tulip varieties, dwarf daffodils, and hyacinth. I always look forward to this one because, for me, there is nothing like the sweet, perfumey smell of hyacinth blooms to signal spring.
Until I had cats who could eat them and get sick, I always forced hyacinth bulbs indoors in winter. The smell cheers me during the middle of winter when it feels like spring will never arrive. Now, I settle for smelling them in the floral department of the grocery store and waiting until their fragrant blooms appear outside.
Tulips and Daffodils
Finally, I know spring is here and there’s no going back, no surprise snow accumulation or below freezing days, when the tulips and daffodils show their faces in force. Yellow daffodils are the ultimate cheerful spring flower. Masses of these pretty blooms boost my mood immensely, even on a colder early spring day.
I love tulips for their range of color. I have tulips in shades of red, orange, yellow, and peach. A neighbor nearby really goes wild with tulip colors, mixing together purple, red, yellow, pink, white, and everything in between. It’s a happy riot of color that makes me smile every time I walk by in spring.
Spring bulbs require planning, which is why I haven’t always had them in my garden. Over the years, I have learned the value of patients and working without any immediate reward. Now, I appreciate and enjoy the early spring bulbs that help me say goodbye to winter and hello to spring.