Secret sources and mysterious methods for early spring blooms

Iris reticulata
 Iris reticulata is my favorite early spring flower, this week.

It's a resilient little bloomer, able to handle the cold and a bit of snow, which it did a few days ago.

Those who don't garden much are surprised to see them this early in the spring, too.

They recognize them as "irises" because of their distinctive flower form, but scratch their heads because they only know about their grandma's big irises that bloom late in the spring.

Such small horticultural lives they lead!

When they see them in my garden in early spring they think that I have secret sources and mysterious methods for growing these little irises and making them bloom so early.

I don't generally bother to tell them otherwise.

Kidding, I do tell them how easy they are to grow. Just plant the bulbs in the fall and wait.  No secret sources. No mysterious methods.

But as an emerging eccentric gardener, I still want them to think I have secret sources and mysterious methods.

Last week, my favorite early spring flowers were the crocuses in the lawn, which have arrived in waves by color.

First there were light purple crocus blooms, then a pinker variety showed up, followed by another darker purple variety, and then a white variety.  I like how the waves of varieties extend the crocus bloom season.
Crocus in the lawn
How did I get the crocuses to flower in color waves? Secret sources and mysterious methods.  I can't tell you.

Tomorrow, my favorite early spring blooms will probably be the violas and pansies, which I hear are popping up out of their trays at the local greenhouse, they are so ready to be planted.  I will plant up several containers of them to enjoy for as long as they last.

And I'll be the first on my block to do so. I always am. In fact, most years, I am the only one on the block to plant violas and pansies. That's kind of sad, isn't it? I guess because it is still March, people think you can't plant yet. "It's not Mother's Day", they cry out.  "We don't know the secret sources and mysterious methods", they lament.

Oh how wrong they are.

Later this afternoon, I can't promise I won't be caught kneeling on the front walk looking at another favorite bloom, a double-flowering snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis 'Flore Pleno'.

Galanthus nivalis 'Flore Pleno'
Oh, you want to see the actual double flower? Well, to do that, you need to get down on your knees, say a little prayer of thanks that after the winter you still can get down on your knees, and then gently tilt the shy flower toward you.
Galanthus nivalis 'Flore Pleno'
It's worth the trouble to do so, as you can see.

All the early spring bloomers are worth the trouble, if you ask me.  They make winter worthwhile.

And no secret sources or mysterious methods are needed to grow them, I promise.


  1. So the garden fairies are not responsible?

  2. I love the idea of secret sources and magical powers. Of course we gardeners have them. Just ask the garden fairies. I hope you are feeling well now.

  3. Don't forget the hellebores and the hardy cyclamen, too! And the Glory of the Snow.

    Secret sources and magical powers indeed.

  4. The biggest secret is, unless you actually try to plant something, you'll never know if it will grow for you.

  5. While on your knees, appreciating that snowdrop, make sure to smell it; delicious and sweet!

  6. That was precious. Love it. ~~Dee

  7. I love your fun posts and agree that those little spring surprises are what make winter worth while. It's so exciting to see the first buds emerging from underneath the winters snow.

  8. I too know the secrets of having early spring flowers in my garden. I've tried to tell others, but they don't want to learn! When I put out a pot of colorful pansies while the weather is still chilly, the neighbors think I have performed some type of horticultural miracle. Maybe I should just keep my secrets...

  9. What I want to know is why my purple and blue iris reticulate bloom every year, but the yellow ones disappeared after the first year. Why just the yellow? It's a mystery....

  10. The little garden fairies are continuing to help you... and in your new place!! :-)

  11. Hi. I'm Carol and I garden in West Lothian. Like you, I grow iris reticulata but in a pot. In my old garden, I used to tuck pots in with the drifts of snowdrops near the deciduous hedge and move them to bake in the summer next to a south facing wall.

    I don't know whether it's because they're in a pot, but mine flowered in January and had finished in February. I like to have them where I can see them through the kitchen window to help my through the dreich weather of winter.

  12. I envy your seasons ... my spring bulbs have mostly come and gone, glorious in their brief display. Crocus in the lawn are a special treat, reminding me of gardens I had before moving to the desert. Every garden is a treasure, wherever it grows.

  13. The double flower snowdrop sounds really charming!

  14. I have no problem getting down on my knees, however getting up from them is another matter altogether.


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