Crocus Sighting: Happy Vernal Equinox

photo of crocus
Crocus spotted on the University of Chicago campus.

The calendar and the position of the earth in its orbit around the sun mark the official start to the season. There are other signs, too. When the ice melts, the last spit of snow comes and goes, and the garden center opens, it’s impossible to ignore the first stirrings of spring.

Sometime last week I saw a friend’s Facebook status: “crocus sighting!” What a thrill to read. So, of course, I started looking for mine. We used to have a few purple crocus near our front door, but I haven’t seen them this year. ACK! I’m guessing that when we built a new limestone garden wall the crocus bulbs got trampled beyond recovery.

photo of uprooted iris
Oops. One young iris bulb got uprooted by accident while one of my kids dutifully raked winter debris away from the garden wall.

Thankfully, other flowers are on their way. Here in Zone 5 the hyacinth and iris are making some effort, and I expect a show of color from them in the next couple of weeks.

Last week Patricia Vollmer made me envious, in a good way, with her gardening post, Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary”. She and her family put together a fairly ambitious container garden and made it look fun and easy.

Not everyone lives in a climate zone where we can put in vegetables now, but it’s certainly time to dream and plan. So far, most of my planning has been structural: build a cold frame and lay out loose pavers between beds.  We’ll see how far I get this weekend.

Even if you are an urban dweller, have less than ideal space, or feel like you have a black thumb, there are gardening strategies that are completely doable. Gentle inspiration can be found at You Grow Girl. Gayla Trail forced a beautiful iris danfordiae to bloom a few weeks early by potting bulbs in a south-facing window. You Grow Girl also has useful resources, like seed germination guidelines.

I can already taste the tomatoes. Here’s to new beginnings. Happy vernal equinox!

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