In January, the snowdrops in the Secret Garden looked like this:
This Sunday just passed–March 7th–those same snowdrops looked like this:
Such are the vagaries of an upstate New York winter. Since then, the temperatures have been mild and the sunshine brilliant, and the snow is receding. This, my fellow cold climate gardeners, is the best time to decide where to plant your earliest spring bulbs. Look around, no, better yet–grab your camera, and record the places in your garden where the snow melts first.
Here I followed my own advice, and in a previous year planted some Galanthus ‘S. Arnott’ in an area that always melts first. I chose this particular snowdrop because it is both large and early. As a matter of fact, a few of them bloomed today, though I didn’t manage to get a picture.
Label Your Images
As you may have noticed, these images don’t look like much. If you don’t rename your images, tag them, write captions for them, or whatever your photo managing program permits, you will look at them in July and wonder, “What was I thinking? Why did I take a bunch of photos of dirty, tired snow?” Put them in a folder labeled Plant Bulbs Here and make a note in your calendar to order them in June, when there are discounts for early online orders.
Which Bulbs Are the Earliest?
Of the commonly available snowdrops, Galanthus elwesii is the earliest. Winter aconites (Eranthis spp.) are reputedly equally as early, though they have not been so for me. I am not sure if they are coming back this year. When they like your garden, they really take off. The small species crocus bloom soon after the snowdrops for me. Two to three weeks after the very first blooms, the larger Dutch crocus, the Siberian squills, and the glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa) are all blooming. By then it’s a whole different ball game.