A single scilla

One odd benefit of having four March nor’easters in a row is the series of springs we’ve experienced in between storms. Even though these past few weeks haven’t been warm, the combined effect of longer days and a more direct angle of sunlight means March snow melts quickly. Even as we wait for our fourth snowstorm, a significant portion of previous snow has already melted, temporarily revealing bare patches of earth.

Resilient

Despite the two feet of snow we received last week, our day lilies are sprouting, and both snowdrops and scilla are blooming if you know where to look. Spring perennials aren’t deterred by snow: as soon as sunlight hits bare ground, they sprout, bloom, and ultimately outlast even the heaviest snowfalls.

Snowdrops in snow

On bright days, the snow sublimes into thin air, and even on gray days, the snow shrinks from below, the soil absorbing and then slowly emitting the warmth from daytime sunlight. Winter storm Toby can rage and spew all he wants, but the simple fact remains: spring snow never lasts for long, and ultimately both spring and summer prevail.

Through the crack

Because we’ve had so little snow this past winter, the exposed soil in our backyard flower beds has deep, fissure-like cracks, and right now those cracks are sprouting the first tentative flowers of spring. I’m not much of a gardener, and neither is J: although J takes pride in tending our lawn and shrubs, neither one of us has ever planted any flowers here.

Sprouting

Instead, every spring and summer we’re surprised by the magical re-appearance of perennials our house’s prior owners planted: crocuses, snowdrops, tulips, daffodils, scilla, and a whole parade of ornamental flowers whose names I don’t know. During the spring and summer, our backyard feels like a botanical time capsule, with someone else’s green thumb giving us unsolicited gifts. I sometimes wonder about the hands that planted the bulbs that continue to sprout every year with no human assistance. Did the planter of these bulbs know how long they’d bloom after their departure, and could they have envisioned how much joy they’d bring to a future homeowner they never even met?