March 10, 2021
Melissa and I have been so concerned this winter with trying to keep the succulents in our outside beds alive that I ignored the other species that share the same space. When I walked out of the house on Monday, I noticed a flash of yellow under the mesh we used to cover the succulents to keep them warm. I was excited as I thought this was a cactus flower that had bloomed now that it is warmer. You can imagine my surprise when I pulled back the covering and saw a single yellow Daffodil with a grape Hyacinth growing within its foliage. I had forgotten these Spring blooms were even in the bed when we planted the succulents last fall. Their blooms served as a reminder.
Daffodil is one of the common names for flowers of the Narcissus genus. Other common names include narcissus and jonquil. All Narcissus genus plants have conspicuous flowers with six petal-like tepals surmounted by a cup- or trumpet-shaped corona. The flowers are generally white and yellow (ours are yellow) but also orange or pink in some garden varieties. The genus is generally considered to be about ten sections with approximately 50 species. The number of species has varied, depending on how they are classified, due to similarity between species and the continuous resulting hybridization.
When I checked online, I found that flower longevity varies by Narcissus species and conditions, ranging from 5–20 days. After flowering leaf and root senescence sets in, and the plant appears to be ‘dormant’ till the next spring, conserving moisture. However, the dormant period is also one of considerable activity for the bulb. Like many bulb plants from temperate regions, a period of exposure to cold is necessary before spring growth can begin. This protects the plant from growth during winter when intense cold may damage it. Warmer spring temperatures then initiate growth from the bulb. I hope my booms are the kind that last for 20.
Thoughts: Just as many hoped 2021 was going to bring a new beginning, so too Spring has always been a time of rebirth and hope for a new beginning. This rebirth brings the wonderful blooms that have taken over my mailbox planter and have snuck under the blankets and mesh that grace the front house bed. It is always surprising that while we try and create a world that conforms to our vision and wishes, how the world goes forward on its own terms. This is a good thing for my flower beds as the Spring blooms add color to the dormant succulents. It is also a caution knowing that the planet has the capability of self-correcting when things go too far. That has resulted in the five mass extinctions and many more minor corrections. Some believe the pandemic is an example of one of natures “minor” corrections. Follow the science. Change is coming and it starts with you.