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Galanthus, chionodoxia, hyacinthodes
Scilla, daffodil, crocus
One thousand and one bulbs beneath the ground
Arise!
Poke green pinky toes through dirt and snow.
Prove it’s spring. Make me believe.
Barren lilac, blasted cherry, stark plum tree, go backstage.
Unadorned limbs longing skyward, retreat.
Midgets take the spotlight, fellows with tiny bells and festive cups ring in spring.
Rains come.
Get this party started in the mud.

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Spring will come when it comes. Last week we smothered in snow, white mountains heaped in the baseball park down the block speckled brown and grey from traffic soot. Now the big dirty meltdown erodes winter’s burial mounds. It’s warm.

Aesthetically, early spring is the worst time of year. It’s no fashion week in the garden. Dormancy and disarray leer from beneath the veil of snow. It’s a train wreck.

The first robin of spring hops across the mud plucking worms from puddles of slush, and the snow line retreats to the shady spots on the north side. So much dirt. So much hope.

Before I started gardening, I saw yards and parks as places to be. I saw dirt as dirt. I didn’t see the canvas waiting for color. I didn’t almost involuntarily evaluate a location’s sun exposure, proximity and elevation. I didn’t see a piece of land and start instinctively devising plans to exploit it for the sake of beauty, fragrance or culinary pleasure. Before I became a gardener, I didn’t like dirt. I’m wiser now.

Dirt is very exciting.

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I planted 180 bulbs last fall. The number sounds excessive, exorbitant, and my lower back concurs it was a bit much. These bulbs are insurance. I balance the cost and work of planting with their ability to bloom obscenely early. These aren’t finicky things, like tulips. They naturalize. They seed. They spread.

Galanthus, crocus, chionodoxia, daffodil, scilla: most I’ve grown before with success. I’ve expanded their territory rather than waiting patiently for ten years to achieve rivers of color in the detritus of early spring. Ragged patches where my fall interest perennials hide their faces until May, early flowering bulbs dot the ground and promise flowers soon. I will have my spring as early as possible. So mote it be.

Spring will come when it comes, but it never hurts to ask for what you want.

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