Does anyone else get excited over stuff like this? My single Allium nectaroscordum bulb from my sister, planted last year, has multiplied secretly underground while I wasn’t looking and turned into this cute clump with promise of things to come. Perhaps a little quicker than I might prefer if I consider the future….. I am watching every move spring makes with an eagle eye. My stalwart companion is my dog Nyssa, whose attention to spring looks more like this:
Recently I walked in the nearby canyon that is home to the origin springs of Crystal Springs Creek, in Reed College campus. I saw the early spring leaves of the native Indian Plum, Oemleria cerasiformis, one of the earliest shrubs to brave the cool early March with its tender shoots. Seeing the bits of green always makes me anticipate the arrival of spring. I love this plant, but it's not easy in the small, residential garden as it spreads by rhizomes. If you have space for it, then by all means! The Tommy Crocus from my last musing is still out, and I am finding lovely scenes of the little guys naturalizing around my neighborhood.
And more exciting – our baby Winter Hazel is preparing to bloom! My favorite is Corylopsis pauciflora, Buttercup Winter Hazel. The pale butter-yellow blooms are delicate drops, so small and profuse on the bare, dark twigs the plant looks like a soft yellow haze. This shrub gets 4-6’ tall and wide, and needs some shade. It is an elegant and welcome member of the early flowering lineup if you have the right conditions.
Detail of Winter Hazel buds opening
These changes in the garden gets me chomping at the bit for spring. And it’s not too early to start thinking about your spring and summer garden projects. If you have changes to make, small or large, now is a good time in Western Oregon and Washington. Moving woody plants and perennials is easy – the weather is cool and damp. They have time to re-establish roots before the longer, warmer days start leaves and twigs really growing. And for most projects, ample planning time is helpful. Think through what you’d like to do and make sure any impacted plants you wish to keep can be moved or tucked in somewhere. If soils are not too soggy, small changes can be made and plants can be planted before the weather gets too warm. Then it is much easier to minimize their stress! And for larger projects, it allows wet weather planning, dry season construction, and planting late summer or early fall when rain will begin soon, making plant establishment a cinch. So let your burgeoning spring fever motivate you to action! And if you need assistance, do think of me.