Urban Garden Denver Blog


Hardy Bulbs

Crocuses look so delicate, but their small leaves poke up through snow and their short stems resist breaking under normal spring snows. The rain and snow that we had yesterday was perfect for watering the ground deeply. This morning, under the bright sun, the snow gave way to lovely purple blossoms.crocus

I plant crocuses right next to the sidewalk in order to spread cheer to all those walking by. I have other bulbs scattered through my garden, but crocuses are so small and easily overlooked, they are best in a prominent location.

Spring is a very up-and-down season in Colorado. I call it weather whiplash. We go from warm sunshine to snow in just a few hours, then back again. Most of this variation isn’t too hard on the plants, unless we get extreme low temperatures. My forsythia isn’t looking very promising right now. It normally blooms in mid-late March. And it may bloom, but I watching it carefully. The -11 degree temperatures in February were harsh and it doesn’t look like the buds are forming. Maybe I am wrong and I will still get bright yellow blossoms. No guarantees in Colorado gardening.

Meanwhile – I am on the lookout for crocuses and other bulbs as I walk through the neighborhood. Last week I was at the Denver Botanic Gardens and admired their early bulbs – crocuses and snowdrops.

Get outside – spring is coming – in between snowstorms.

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The Dandelions Survived

I’m not sure which of my flowering shrubs, trees or perennials will bloom this season – since they have all been nipped by our unseasonably cold temperatures. Snow in April is not unusual in Denver, but several nights of low temperatures in the teens the last few weeks are unusual and potentially damaging for spring blooms. But as the snow has melted off my grass, the dandelions have definitely survived the cold. The fate of the rest of my spring blossoms will need to unfold, literally, over the next few weeks. I guess my garden chore today is digging dandelions, since I don’t like to use poison.

Healthy dandelions!

Healthy dandelions!

However, in addition to my dandelions (which I would not have mourned had they died), I was pleasantly surprised to find two creeping veronica plants blooming. I had planted six new plants last summer, but our dry fall and winter took their toll (and I didn’t water enough). I know this isn’t a great success rate, but they are in my parking strip area where plants need to be tough to survive and where I do very little supplemental watering. So finding them alive and blooming this morning was a great encouragement.

The rest of my survey of the garden left me uncertain. There are buds on the lilacs, but I can’t tell if they are frozen or alive. The iris and daylily foliage is showing definite signs of frost damage, but hopefully the blossoms will emerge. The candytuft looks healthy and ready to bloom. And of course, my pansies also survived the snow and are looking perky and moist along my front walkway. And I am hopeful that my tulips which were broken down by the weight of the snow will straighten toward the sun and bloom.

Creeping Veronica

Creeping Veronica

This spring is going to be a mixed bag in the garden, but I am going to celebrate each blossom, knowing how precious it is. And I’m going to try to take the long view and know that there will be future springs as well. I am working on content for a retreat on “seasons of the soul” and I have been exploring the soul dimensions of winter-spring-summer-fall. One of my fundamental assumptions is that we experience all the seasons of the soul, but we can’t control the progression or timing, only our reaction. So I will choose to celebrate each blossom.

Pansies

Pansies