A Taste of Spring

A Taste of Spring

Last Friday was unseasonably warm, but with wind gusts so strong, one could not go outside to enjoy the warmth.  All the snow melted, however;  and the ground dried up considerately.  I went for a walk on Saturday, and saw no signs of Spring, but my daughter sent this to me on Sunday.

 

Snowdrops 2015

Snowdrops!    (Galanthus nivalis)

The white, pendulous, bell-shaped flower blooms in February and March at the top of a 3-6” stem that emerges from two lnear leaves–a welcome sight so early in spring. The perennial, herbaceous plants which grow from bulbs planted by us, increase by bulb sets and seed, carried by ants. They may become naturalized in woodland, but never invasive in our area. These are planted on the south side of her house under some shrubs–sun in spring, shade in summer.

This inspired me to check out the Winter Aconite (Eranthus hymelis) in the far corner of my back yard.

winter aconite 2016

They had just popped up on Monday–I had checked on Sunday and there was only bare dirt. Native to southern Europe, the nickel size, golden buttercup blossoms cover the ground beginning in February or March, and last a couple of weeks.  It spreads quickly by seed, but is not invasive.  (tThey came into my garden via some Virginia Bluebells that I had brought from my old house,)  I transplanted a few plants to a location near my back door, on the north side of my house, where i could see them every day.  They didn’t, however, thrive there and never multiplied.

Last year someone offered  to trade some of her Snowdrops for some of my  Winter Aconite, which I agreed to do, but it didn’t happen and I don’t know the name of the person who offered.  If you’re still interested, so am I.

Hazelnut Catkins 2016

The catkins of American Hazelnut are beginning to swell, another sign of Spring.  I clipped a few branches to take inside to bring it into even earlier bloom.  I also cut a few branches of other early bloomers, such as Wild Gooseberry (Ribes missouriense)–watch out for thornsand the not so early-blooming Black Haw (Viburnum prunefolium).  I also cut a few branches from my neighbor’s Forsythia that borders my back yard, the traditional shrub for forcing branches into early bloom.

Yes, I realize these two little bulbs are not native, even to this country or continent, but I do make a couple of exceptions–these because of their unusually early bloom when we’re so hungry for spring and , of course, they are not invasive.  I have them in an area of other early spring wildflowers, so I don’t do a spring burn there.  Plant them only in your own garden; don’t ever put them in a remnant or natural area..

 

7 Responses to A Taste of Spring

  1. Suzanne Massion February 23, 2016 at 8:05 pm #

    I’m so ready. Got to have a look at my American Hazelnuts. Thanks for the taste, Pat

    • PatHill February 24, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

      I think early spring will be short-lived; winter is supposed to return with a vengeance this afternoon.

  2. Peggy Timmerman February 24, 2016 at 8:24 am #

    One caution is that many non-native species live here for many years without issues and then suddenly become problematic or invasive. Biologists are not sure why this happens, but it may have to do with the fact that without their natural pests and diseases present, any chance mutation that increases reproduction can advance without resistance, thereby allowing the plant to become much more aggressive. Is that chance really worth the little bit of early spring color they provide?

  3. June Keibler February 24, 2016 at 9:06 am #

    Must have a look at the catkins, love every aspect of this plant.

    • PatHill February 24, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

      My favorite shrub.

  4. Mary Alice Masonick February 25, 2016 at 3:47 pm #

    I watched a deer nibbling on an American Hazelnuts catkins right outside our dining room window.

    Can someone tell me how close two hazelnuts must be to produce nuts? I have two shrubs in the backyard but they may be too far apart because I have never seen the nuts.

  5. Jason February 25, 2016 at 8:35 pm #

    I would really like to grow some American Hazelnut. Do birds like to eat the catkins?

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