Patty Craig: A Slice of Time
Spring flowers always catch my attention. Since I enjoy warm weather and colorful plants, I look forward to the appearance of the hyacinths, daffodils, and tulips planted in my yard. Currently, the hyacinths, the daffodils, and one lone tulip have pushed through the soil. But it’s still early. The green tips of these flowering plants are such a welcome sight.
Hyacinths are early flowering perennials, growing from bulbs. They tend to have upright spikes of flowers rising above blade-shaped foliage, growing 6 to 8 inches in height. The colors of these flowers vary. Most hyacinths have a sweet fragrance similar to gardenias or magnolias. Since hyacinth bulbs are mildly toxic and the foliage is irritating to the mouth, they’re primarily grown for their beauty and fragrance. However, blue and dark blue hyacinths are popular with bees. For such a small plant, the hyacinth fragrance is amazing.
Daffodils reproduce and spread for years, resulting in beautiful swaths of yellow and white daffodils. Derived from the Dutch, ‘affo dyle’ or ‘that which cometh early,’ daffodils are often among the first signs of plant life each spring. These beautiful yellow flowers spring up along roadsides, around abandoned buildings, and across open fields. Long ago, the flower’s sap was believed to have medicinal properties; however, we now know that daffodils contain toxins that can be harmful to humans and to pets. Thankfully, this attribute makes the plant resistant to damage by deer and other wildlife. This flower is definitely a family favorite.
Tulips are members of the lily family, Liliaceae, having large, showy blooms. The various tulip types bloom at different times: early spring (mid-March to late April), mid-spring (early to mid-May) and late spring (mid to late May). Tulip bulbs will flower from one to four years, and each year the blooms last about two weeks. Tulips are not good for consumption for some animals, especially horses, dogs and cats. Also, chewing some of the plant parts or the bulb may cause tissue irritation for some people. Unfortunately, squirrels and other rodents dig up and eat tulip bulbs, seeming unharmed. Since my late husband set out already-in-bloom tulips in the spring of 1988, we have supplemented with new bulbs along the way and enjoyed their bright colors each year.
All of these spring flowers are attention-getters, adding pops of color wherever they appear. Hyacinths, daffodils, and tulips are my early growing-season favorites. I hope these flowers don’t have any trouble reading the weather signals this year because I’m looking forward to watching them bloom.