Teeny, tiny flowers are potent symbols
By Michael Leach
Small packages can contain fabulous wealth. Consider the simple cube. Hardly bigger than two plump thumbs, it opens to reveal a glittering diamond and emerald ring that sits like an imperial crown upon a velvet pad.
So it is with some of the smallest bulbs in my garden, snowdrops and snow crocus. Their tiny flowers generate excitement on a scale far beyond their size not to mention an early meal for pollinators. Those teeny, tiny blooms are powerful signs of better things ahead.
These diminutive flowers are especially potent this winter, which arrived early with a nastier attitude than usual. It’s taken itself far too seriously in my opinion. Fortunately a thaw in late February turned into a few days of late-May weather, prompting those precious little flowers to pop open.
The mild weather also pushed the two big silver maples in the back yard to get into the act. Their flowers are even smaller thanthe bulbs’ but their masses of swelling buds create a pastel yellow aura around one tree and burgundy the other. Unfortunately their beauty appears too far over head to appreciate the flowers.
Because wee blooms are lost in a vast scene, legions of them are needed for a visual statement in a expansive landscape, such as mine. Those trees produce their own show. Bulbs require my effort.
My token blossoms always inspire visions of lavender and yellow swaths of snow crocus, white drifts of snowdrops and golden rivers of countless daffodils for next spring.
What will probably happen is a repeat of the disappointment of many past springs. The reality of bulb planting season is fatigue, hard soil and sprawling plants that I tangle with while digging holes. The garden season always seems to require too many weedings, waterings and plantings. Near exhaustion, not enthusiasm results. Instead of the thousands or even hundreds to bring alive these visions of spring glory, only a few bags of various bulbs are purchased and planted.
Knowing such fantasies are unlikely to take root, a practical thought comes to mind. A few dozen tiny bulbs would suffice to greatly enliven the portion of the perennial border nearest the sunporch windows. Why not order from one of those clever bulb companies? Their catalogs, spiced with early bird specials, arrive during the heyday of spring bulb season. Instead of a token few, I could buy enough to create a modest statement. Because the bulbs will bepaid for months ahead, my frugal nature will insist that there be no waste of money. This will generate sufficient energy to dig the required holes.
Perhaps this is the year. But for now, I must go out and gaze at the wee wonders who seem to whisper, “Winter’s done for.”