Home Gardening First Day of Spring, the Flowers All Sing

First Day of Spring, the Flowers All Sing

First Day of Spring, the Flowers All Sing
peach blossoms

The first day of spring couldn’t have come soon enough, although winter’s waning days were nothing short of halcyon — those teaser days when waterlogged memories of drenching, consuming rain evaporate from my consciousness merely by a rise in temperature, an extension of daylight, and the welcome return of blue skies and fluffy clouds. Rain? What Rain?

Buddy: Defender of Daffodils, Knight of the Narcissus, poised to give the deer the what-for should the occasion arise.

The crocus petals have melted back into the earth like wet tissue, as the daffodils and narcissi rise to the occasion of spring, trumpeting the new life, color and vigor in the garden. Narcissi (daffodils) are strong performers this time of year, naturalizing well in the landscape and requiring little if any maintenance.  Allow them to die back naturally, that is don’t cut their leaves back as they are the photosynthetic engines that fuel next year’s blooms.  Oh and did I mention, daffodils are completely deer-proof. Yep, deer don’t touch them, ever. (Actually, each generation may nibble one or two buds, but that will be their last time of doing that.)

 Leucojum Aestivum summer snowflake flower
Leucojum Aestivum is an uncommon beauty right out of an Art Nouveau sketchbook.

Leucojum Aestivum, or giant snowflake as it’s also known, is another dreamy naturalizer that deer don’t seem to savor. Unlike its mini-me version, galanthus or snowdrop, Leucojum towers anywhere from 18 – 24 inches, displaying nodding little bell flowers with distinct green dots at the end of each petal. I love them.

Narcissus "Replete" Daffodils
Narcissus “Replete”

Narcissi come in all shapes and sizes, in fact bulb purveyor John Scheepers and the Daffodil Society designate 13 classifications. The narcissus “Replete” shown above is a showgirl in bloom, with double ruffles and a can-can kick of color.

Narcissus Tazetta
Narcissi “Tazetta” dressing up the back of my truck.

Narcissi “Tazetta,” delicate little wands of light, offer a dreamy fragrance for anyone wishing to dip a nose in their direction.

fritillaria persica ivory bells
Fritillaria persica “ivory bells”

Fritillaria persica, or Persian Lily as some call it, rises above the garden mulch, tall and proud, green and showy. This is my first year of growing them, so I’m a bit weary of how well they’ll grow here in the Pacific Northwest. Winter rot is always a problem with delicate bulbs. Of six bulbs I planted only one bloomed, so I will mulch with extra rich compost to help bring them to bloom next year.

spring peach blossoms
Peach Blossoms “Honeybabe”

Growing peaches in the Pacific Northwest is a real challenge due to our cool days, dry summers and heavy spring rains. I’m trying a few dwarf varieties in my greenhouse to thwart our climatic shortcomings (at least for the peach). Even without fruit production, these trees are beautifully ornamental.

spring flowers camellia "apple blossom"
Camellia “Apple Blossom”

As a boy growing up in South Carolina, I marveled at the variety and bombastic nature of camellia blossoms, so pretty and floriferous, they almost look fake. So glad camellias thrive in the Pacific Northwest.

camellia stripes
Mystery camellia

The candy-cane-splash of a camellia above arrived as an accidental (albeit welcomed) seedling in my garden. It tagged along in a pot of a named variety of camellia called Debutante. If anyone recognizes the variety above, do tell, do tell.

first day of spring in the garden
Poetic garden paths: “I took the one less traveled…”
happy spring from my house to yours
Hope your enjoyed the first day of spring at my house; today, of course, the rain is back.


    • Funny you should mention, Hafiz, I’m sprucing it up a bit for an office or guest suite. I’ll show you the interior when it’s done, which is hopefully in a month or two. Take care!

  1. Dear Tom, Such a delightful entry! I am an avid gardener, but must be patient – the bulbs are just now peaking their first growth out of the soil, and snow is expected at the end of the week. Despite its drawbacks temperature-wise, though, Montreal is an amazing city to live in. Thanks for the tip about the Leucojum Aestivum – I’ll look for some bulbs to plant in the fall. I’ve never had any luck with fritillaria here, but the daffodils are everywhere in my garden, and I’ll look for some bulbs of the “Replete” in the fall.

    • Sandra, Montreal is a city I hope to visit one day, as well as Quebec City. As for flowers, I also love a little daff called minnow planted in drifts, a lovely butter color and quite floriferous.

  2. Now that is one gorgeous spot you have created. Love the blooms—ALL of them!! (but I’m especially smitten with that Mystery Camellia. Hope you find a name for it. It’s too gorgeous to be anonymous!

  3. Love the excitement of spring and the wonderful and delightful entrance of colours that only nature can create.

    Thank you Tom, for the knowledge you so gracefully bestow upon us with your commentaries.

    Buddy looks like a victorious knight with his firm stance. Such a brave and dutiful partner you have. I know he will be well rewarded.

    V and the furry gang welcoming the coming of spring.

      • 4 members

        Canines (3)
        Harris- protector of his all female household. He has a very well respected position in the household as he has to guard the house from letter bombs that come thru the mail slot by the postman. He must also bark when the queen gives him orders. He is approximately 10yrs old.
        (most of his life was spent in an abusive backyard but being a gentle dog with strong constitution he chose to remain a kind and gentle soul)

        Saige is approximately 8 years but had spent most of her life outside also with Harris. You would never know it as she acts like a queen that barks orders to her subjects. She is the mother of Miss Abbey (3.5yrs) (1 of approximately 40 plus )

        Miss Abbey (alpha) with assistance of a trainer has been very diligent in teaching her parents all the social skills expected of a canine living in her house.

        Meg (Miss Kitty) moved in one day and decided that she could easily train me to take care of all her needs and wants. Being a lady and since a lady does not tell her age, we just guess. The vet and I believe she may be around five years.

        Initially, I wondered about this household that basically decided to move in with me. I am learning to enjoy my blissful life more each day. V

        • V, now that sounds like a wonderfully warm and welcoming household of critters, uh family, I mean. Here’s to Harris, Saige, Miss Abbey, Meg and you, sounds like you rescued some neglected hearts in need of saving. Wonderful.

          • Hello Tom,

            Thanks for you insightful comments.

            V tells us how fortunate she is having us, she is learning many life lessons each day from us.

            The Loving “Furry Gang”

            P.S. she also needs the daily exercise of our walks

  4. Oh how I miss the beauty of all those flowers that do not grow in Florida. That makes you living in paradise for the spring but our winters are fine.

    • You are so right Vern; it takes a lot of rain and cool weather to make these beauties bloom. Sunshine is something that shows up here just around the Fourth of July. 😉

  5. Delightful writing and gorgeous pictures as always, Tom! It’s interesting that you should mention the little Minnow daffodils as we’ve just been considering adding them for next spring. That will now be a definite plan. Our daffodils are just finished here (coastal Northern California just south of the Oregon border) but were the best ever. Yes, it’s raining this morning but after last summer’s sputtering well pump, I won’t be complaining about rain (smile).

    • I’m with you Stephanie, the rain is welcome, says me and our single source aquifer. The minnow daffs I saw last year were spectacular planted en masse, even in their diminutive state, almost like popcorn on sticks, color that popped, popped, popped!

      Stephanie, here’s a link to a fine bulb seller that I’ve had great results with: http://www.johnscheepers.com/narcissus-minnow.html

  6. Happy Easter, Tom. I know with your splendid spirit you will find a way of making the day meaningful – with Buddy’s help, of course. You live one of the richest lives of anybody I’ve ever known, as I’m sure your readers will agree. You deserve much happiness – happiness is what you make it, and you’re a wonderful example of just that.

    • Thank you Sandra, your generous words humble me. I feel very fortunate to wake up where I do every morning and hearing from kind souls like yourself just adds the sunshine to the mix. Happy Easter to you and your family, and again thank you from me, and Buddy, once he wakes up.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.