Slowly, Spring emerges. Early Spring blooms, I think, are the most appreciated of any. After the cold grey of winter, bright color sparkles from unraked, dried leaves. Each blossom looks like a jewel.
As early as February, come droopy-headed white snow drops. They last for weeks and spread easily, naturalizing through the garden, the lawn and under trees. At our house they seem to bloom both in sun and shade as they march down the driveway.
Crocuses — purple, yellow, white, striped — look like miniature tulips in sunny spots. Some naturalize in profusion across lawns. Although I have heard of a homeowner calling them an “invasive species” and digging out each one, they do no harm. As with snowdrops, their foliage, crucial to next year’s blooms, dries out way before the first mowing.
Particularly charming are bulbs that push up among the pachysandra and the ivy and the blue blooms of vinca vines. Although I’ve never seen any push through the snow, my favorite true blue tiny bulb, chionodoxa, is called glory-of-the-snow.
Taller flames of color are early shrubs, yellow witch hazel and winter jasmine, and early-blooming pink Okame cherry trees. Slowly, in cooler temperatures color returns bloom by bloom then pops like popcorn as temperatures rise.
Daffodils of all sizes and shades of yellow, cream, apricot trumpet the arrival of Spring. Ditto the planting of pansies and a profusion of primroses.