By Valerie-Clark Roden
Deep thaw is what we need to heal the bruises of winter’s wrath. After this seemingly endless winter I am looking forward to seeing the first colors of spring as the crocuses pop their cheerful, bright purple and yellow cupped petals through the frozen earth to welcome the much-anticipated change of season.
The crocus is nature’s promise that we are, finally, seeing the end of the bitter cold. They are the hardiest little plants – enduring the freezing temperatures of winter in order to grow and thrive. Crocuses easily self-propagate and can spread a carpet of blues, whites, purples or yellows across your garden. Honeybees are awakened and lured out of their hives by crocus. And the treasured exotic spice saffron is cultivated from some species.
Squirrels and other little creatures love crocuses as much as we all do. Squirrels, voles and chipmunks like to nibble the bulbs, also called corms, leaving no base from which to grow. With the snow that’s covered my lawn and garden for much of the past 80-some days now receding, I will look to see whether my crocuses survived winter’s hungry gnawing animals. Hopefully the bold little plants will soon be poking their heads up whole with their perennial promise once again announcing the onset of spring.