Serendib garden journal: spring ephemerals.
This is my favorite time in the garden, when Chicago's long winter finally gives way to the first harbingers of spring. I am such an impatient gardener; I want blooms at the first possible opportunity. So I end up planting teeny tiny bulbs that many gardeners around here don't bother with, and in early March, rake away leaf mulch to reveal their emerging shoots. They bring me a lot of joy, and to judge by comments from passers-by, are much appreciated by the neighbors as well.

These tiny flowers can be frustrating -- the squirrels and bunnies dig some up, so every year, I don't get quite as many spring bulbs as I'm hoping for. Next fall, I'm planning to plant my crocuses under wire, to discourage avid foragers. One of my neighbors has so many scilla in their yard -- they spread and naturalize over time -- that this week it's as if a haze of blue has poured over the ground.

That's what I aspire to, just a feast of early spring color. White snowdrops, tiny reticulated irises in lavender and deep blue, white and purple-pink crocuses, and a haze of blue scilla, all joining the nodding heads of the first blooming perennials, the hellebores. It may take me a long time to fully realize my desire, but we are planning to be here for at least another decade, and gardening is, even for the most impatient among us, a lesson in patience. Every year, the scene improves.

"A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust." -- Gertrude Jekyll

More on spring ephemerals: