Our winter is stuck on repeat like a CD playing with a giant gouge-is it not? If only nature would choose to bring this song to a close. If only the channel would change. OK, I realize the timing of the change of the channel is out of my control. The only thing keeping me on an even keel-a greenhouse full of hellebores. I am on the verge of being afraid for spring. The sun and slightly warmer temperatures today meant melted snow was streaming into the shop under the front door. What other disasters does this brutal winter have to visit upon our spring? I don’t have any answers, just a lot of theories that are most likely off target or irrelevant. March? lion-like, so far. And no relief in sight. But any gardener has the option of creating a little spring indoors. I am beginning to see pots of spring flowering bulbs available at nurseries.
This pot of muscari came in a plastic pot. No gardener should be dismayed by the nursery presentation. What they do well is bring a plant on. Representing the magic of spring is not their thing. They grow. What they grow is available at a very reasonable cost. That bulb that has shot forth leaves and flowers is a miracle of nature. Spring flowering bulbs have flowers and leaves stored in in those juicy orbs we call bulbs. Given the proper temperature signs, those bulbs break dormancy and grow.
Not so much is required of a gardener to bring a spring flowering bulb into bloom. Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths,and a whole host of small flowering bulbs will represent in the spring, if you can just manage to get them below ground before the ground freezes so hard it cannot be worked. I am embarrassed to say that I have had to ditch plenty too many bulbs in my gardening life, as I did not make the deadline. Happily, the fall planting deadlines need not apply, should you pot up. Pots of bulbs wintered over in the garage will come on and bloom with as much vigor as bulbs planted on time in the fall.
Should you have no pots of spring flowering bulbs waiting for spring in your garage, shop your favorite garden store. Rob spent the day transplanting muscari and cyclamen into containers. How he transforms a nursery grown plastic pot loaded with muscari into a strong statement about spring might interest you.
The first time I saw him wash the soil off of the upper half of a spring flowering bulb, I worried. Would a bulb exposed to view mean disaster? That has never happened. As he says, the bulb from which all that life springs is beautiful. A statement about spring should surely include a view of that bulb that is part of the experience of spring.
The only spring going on in my neighborhood is a direct result of the intervening hand of a passionate gardener. In our shop, those hands belong to Rob. As anxious as I am about the length of this long and very hard winter, I appreciate his gestures towards the turn of the season.
We had customers in today taking the results of his potting up home. Not near Detroit Garden Works? Visit your local nursery, and bring home a few pots of spring flowering bulbs. Then do what you can to make those pots a personal expression of spring.