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Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Secret of Early Blooming Crocuses

Ladies and gentleman, we are gathered around the spot where an actual crocus once bloomed on January 27th back in 2002 and again in 2007.

And because a flower once bloomed that early on this spot not once, but twice, it is the focal point for my annual crocus watch, which this year began on the anniversary of that early bloom.

The day after I first started looking for a crocus bloom, we got a foot of snow, so I suspended daily checks for signs of a bloom and told the news media to go home. (I made up that part about the news media. They weren’t really here, but they should have been. After all, outdoor blooms in January in Indiana are rare.)

Over the weekend, it warmed up to the low 40’s, melting about half the snow, so the watch was temporarily back on, until I realized that half of a foot of snow still means that there are six inches of snow left to melt.

Then the temperatures dropped again and we got a “weatherman’s one to two inches of snow” Tuesday morning which turned out to be closer to four inches of snow for us regular people.

Currently it is 1° F degree outside, but the same weatherman who predicted the last snowfall now tells us that the temperatures are supposed to go back up over the next several days, peaking at 50° F by Saturday. Believing this, because I always believe the weatherman, I remain hopeful that once again, a crocus will bloom on this spot in the near future.

Maybe it will bloom in time for Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day on February 15th when many of us will start our third year of sharing blooms on the 15th of the month? That first year, my garden was covered with a blanket of snow. Last year, my garden was bare on the 15th and I had crocuses blooming.

That gives me a 50 – 50 chance of having a crocus bloom on Bloom Day!

Truth be told, because the truth is important on a blog, I think my chances of having a crocus blooming by the 15th are 100% because there were actually some crocuses blooming before February 15th in 2007. It just so happened that when bloom day came around, they were buried under the snow. My garden journal tells me so!

That gives me a 50 – 50 chance of having snow on Bloom Day.

But there is a 100% chance of my actually starting a third year of bloom day posts. We welcome everyone to join in whether it is your first bloom day or your 25th bloom day!

Now for those of you reading this blog for some actual gardening information that you can use in your own garden, here’s my secret to getting crocuses to bloom as early in January in some years.

The secret is…

Plant them in a micro-climate.

The early blooming of a crocus in this particular spot is probably because the radiant heat that comes off the bricks of the porch a foot away helps to warm this spot up earlier than other more exposed areas of the landscape. Thus, the crocus “thinks” it is later and warmer than it really is and blooms earlier than crocuses elsewhere in the garden.

I didn’t think about the microclimate when I planted the crocus corms in this spot, but once I realized what was going on, I took full credit for this careful placement.

I take credit for everything good that happens in my garden…

… and blame the rabbits for everything else!

20 comments:

Sylvia (England) said...

Oh Carol, I had a good chuckle at you taking all the credit - which I think you should. I don't have any crocus flowering yet, but it has been cold for us, you would say a little chilly! I find my crocus push themselves up to the surface and need to be pushed in again.

Looking forward to the first picture. Best wishes Sylvia (England)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I giggled at those last lines Carol. I too take credit for the good things that happen in the garden and I blame the weather, dog or just plain bad luck for any failures. tee hee...

I will be looking for my crocus this weekend too. They were peeking out of the ground just before the snow arrived. Hopefully they enjoyed their nap under the snow and are ready for a good romp in the winter sun.

The verification word is runts. I don't want the crocus to think that they are the runts of the garden world.

Kylee said...

Excellent post, Carol! Loved reading every word of it! I've got a microclimate where I've planted some marginal perennials, but there aren't any bulbs there. I'll have to wait a bit longer than you to see blooms there!

Darla said...

You are a nut! Great post. I do hope to see your crocus on the Feb.15th It got down to 15 this morning here in North Florida and will get close to that tomorrow morning as well. Then up to 70 this weekend. Haven't a clue what will be left around here for GBBD!

Cindy, My Corner of Katy said...

As I finished reading this post and opened the comments window, I glanced over at your AccuWeather widget. ZERO? Brrrrrrrrr!

Here's to crocus blooms on the 15th!

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

It's brisk down your way this morning too, isn't it? That's what I find so interesting; you can have it so cold in winter and then when winter's done, that's it, it's outa there and on to spring. Here, it goes on and on like a soup sandwich.
I'm confident you'll have crocus for blooms day. And equally confident that I won't. :-)

Leslie said...

So the real secret is to take credit for good things and blame the rabbits for the rest! I'm hoping the crocus wins for the 15th...just so you get a break from the snow!

Nutty Gnome said...

Your blog made me chuckle, especially the last part - I blame the foxes and squirrels in my garden! And I know where they've been at the moment as we've (very unusually for the UK) got about 6+" of snow and it's 1 degree F. I don't think I'll be looking for anything for a few days!

Annie in Austin said...

Maybe you subconsciously knew about planting the crocus in the microclimate - your farmer genes sent you a message.

May we steal that last line, Carol? By leaving a blank space where you have the word "rabbits", we could make it work for any of us.
You may see me wearing a T-shirt that says "I take credit for everything good that happens in my garden...and blame the squirrels for everything else!"

Rabbits and squirrels are better than deer or feral pigs.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Take that last line and change "rabbits" to "squirrels" and you got my position on gardening success. I'm a big fan of microclimates too, but I lost all the Crocuses I plants in my favorite microclimate spot. (They were overrun by an out-of-control mum.) Next fall I'll have to plant some more there. Instead of Crocuses, I rely on Snowdrops for my earliest blooms, which I've had as early as December. Maybe once the snow melts this weekend...

Ms. Wis./Each Little World said...

I don't think there's a 50-50 chance of anything blooming in Wisconsin by 15th, even with microclimates. I did figure that one out a couple of years ago, however. As a result, I moved some snowdrops from the north side of the house to the south side near the foundation. Not only does it warm up earlier, but I can actually see them from inside. Thanks for that nice start to my morning!

Kathy said...

A good way to discover those warm microclimates is to see where the snow melts first . . . when it finally does melt.

Gail said...

I have great hopes that the crocus will be blooming by Bloom Day here and hope there, too. If I may as others before me have...borrow the phrase but change the last word to clay soil! I blame the clay soil for everything else! Gail

Jean said...

For me it's the squirrels who get the blame. But I'll admit to having dumb luck for some of the good things in my garden.

Boy, I just don't know how you do it. That kind of cold would just mummify me! But I have to remember that day upon day of 100+ heat is equal to about the same experience. Guess we all gotta suffer sometime.

Hang in there!

Tatyana said...

Now, I will wait for your crocuses to appear as much as you...

compost in my shoe said...

Wishing you a pleasant surprise beneath your feet...real soon!

Pam/Digging said...

Your last sentence is priceless, Carol. Carol's motto!

My fingers are crossed that the hoped-for crocus appears by Bloom Day.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

Terribly funny, girl. On whom can I blame the nasty summer bad insects? I'll think on that and get back to you.~~Dee

Jon said...

I loved the humor in this post, and thanks for starting my day off with a laugh. In this day and age of people ranting about the need for accountability and taking personal responsibility, we all need to have T-shirts proclaiming: "I take full credit for__________so blame the __________on the__________". We could just fill in the blanks with our Magic Markers.

Jon at Mississippi Garden

amy said...

I know this is an old post...but I just found it and I am SOOOOO ready tosee the first crocus bloom!! Perhaps I'm a bit more anxious than normal because I have a baby due in 4 days and we might be moving in a couple months (but don't know where yet!?!) AHH! The waiting is killing me! If only something would happen! If only something would pop up from the ground- what a relief it would BE!!! :)