February’s Little Bulbs

“The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.”
~ Gertrude S. Wister

I love living in a climate that allows gardening to continue seamlessly through all four seasons. While most people do not believe it is possible to garden in winter, it really is. I was a skeptic for many years until I began working as a year-round gardener on a private historic property not far from my home. I learned a lot about winter gardening and the variety of plants that bloom throughout this season. I came to love winter gardening for many reasons, among the most obvious: it’s not a scorching 100˚, and there are no mosquitos, ticks, or copperheads. Although I am no longer gardening there, I still continue gardening at home close to 365 days a year. While I enjoy all the blooms, all the time, there’s something so sublime about walking outside on a still-chilly February day and feasting your eyes on colorful dots of patchworked-earth—the little bulbs. They seem to appear overnight out of nowhere. Small purple, pink, yellow, white jewels scattered among the decaying brown leaf litter. And as quickly as they appear, they soon disappear; completely living up to their broad description as spring ephemerals. What they lack in longevity, they make up for in beauty. I look forward to the diminutive February blooms every year. I’m never disappointed. Because, to quote Shakespeare,“Though she be but little, she is fierce!”

“This beautiful Sunday morning in early February is the moment I have been longing for–to walk to the Wood Garden to see the picture I have been imagining throughout the winter, of aconites, snowdrops, and the little Narcissus ‘Cedric Morris’ disappearing into the distance between the lichen-green boles of oak trees.”~ Beth Chatto                            


All photos from author’s garden

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