Days of the Little Bulbs

Cathy at Words and Herbs has invited folks to join her in reviewing the garden year, starting with spring. The idea appealed to me as a good antidote to these cold, dark days.

The very beginning of spring is my subject for today. That’s when our spirits are lifted by the very first blooms as well as the fresh foliage that holds the promise of coming delights.

This is what March 2nd looked like this year.
This is what March 2nd looked like this year.

Spring this year was tardy to arrive, as winter hung on through March like a tiresome house guest who doesn’t realize his welcome has worn out.


Though Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) began blooming before the end of March, it didn’t feel truly spring-like until the Crocuses began to bloom in the first week of April.

Snowdrops, Galanthus
Snowdrops blooming among the Hydrangea stems.

The Snowdrops kick off a period of Spring which I think of as the Days of the Little Bulbs.


Most of my Crocuses are the species Crocus tommasinianus, affectionately known as Tommies.

Crocus vernus
Crocus vernus
Crocus chrysanthus
Crocus chrysanthus

Though there are also Crocus vernus and Crocus chrysanthus.

2014-04-06 13.17.59 crocus tommasinianus with bees

2014-04-06 13.18.03 crocus tommasinianus with bees

The bees were happy to see the Crocuses, especially the Tommies, and I was happy to see the bees.

New Peony foliage
New Peony foliage
Virginia Bluebells
Virginia Bluebells
Wild Columbine
Wild Columbine
2014-04-12 11.59.13
Jacob’s Ladder
Celandine Poppy
Celandine Poppy. I like how the unfolding leaves look like furry paws.

The Days of the Little Bulbs are also the days when the first foliage of some of my favorite plants emerges.

Siberian Squill

Siberian Squill (Scilla sibirica) are one of my favorite little bulbs. It spreads like mad, which is a good thing, as it disappears in May. Along Lake Shore Drive there is a stretch of Lincoln Park where the mass of blooming Squill looks like a smaller and more placid version of Lake Michigan.

Narcissus 'Tete a Tete'
Narcissus ‘Tete a Tete’
Tulipa turkestanica
Tulipa turkestanica

This year it was not until late April when the first species tulips and Narcissus began blooming. Their appearance marks the beginning of the end of the Days of the Little Bulbs. But remember, as we face another long winter, that the little bulbs are waiting to bring us tidings of a new Spring.

37 Comments on “Days of the Little Bulbs”

  1. You do have a much longer winter than we have here in Scotland Jason – but it’s nice to look forward to your spring beauties and this post will either kill or cure your yearning for spring. Lovely images and how lucky you get the bees at Crocus time – despite the fact I have lots of crocus especially for those early bees, I’ve yet to find a bee here quite so early.
    I hope this winter isn’t quite so long as the last one for you.

  2. Lovely pictures of your crocus. I just love these colourful bulbs, and so do the bees. I hope that you have an earlier spring next year. Until now we just have autumn weather. No snow and hardly any frost. I just planted a new rose.

  3. What a pleasure it is to see these pictures at this dreary time of year! I especially like that they are not “enhanced” or idealized as you find in the bulb catalogs. Dead leaves, recycling containers — yes, that is exactly what early spring looks like, bringing us cheer nonetheless.

  4. Seeing your lovely Crocus tommasinianus reminds me that I meant to order and plant some myself this year, never mind, next year, there’s always next year. Won’t be long for some of the other little bulbs, the muscari all have their foliage growing.

  5. Your post is the perfect antidote to these gray, gloomy days! I’ve come to appreciate these little bulbs more and more–even when winter seems to hang on forever, as it did last year, they are a promise that spring is on its way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: