Our first flowers to bloom are the little Eranthis. They are our early promise of spring. When it is cloudy they close up tight as in the above photo. When the sun shines they open wide.
The following is a post from last year, but I thought some of the new bloggers might like to see the photos.
Before we moved here, I had never heard of Eranthis, but Mary told me they would come up and bloom late in the wintertime - in February. I had no idea what she was talking about. But when the time came, she called me and asked if I had Eranthis yet. She called them Eranthis, so I called them Eranthis.
When I try to think of the name of a plant, the name that comes first to my mind is whatever name I heard it called first . That might be the common name or the scientific name - whatever I heard first. If I'm talking to someone, sometimes they want to know another name for it. I have to stop and think, give my poor old slow brain several seconds, then if I'm lucky up comes the second name.
There are probably other names for them, but this is all I know:
Eranthis hyemalis (common name: Winter Aconite)
They grow from tiny little bulbs, and I have read that they are difficult to get started in the garden, for by the time an order has arrived if they are not planted immediately the small bulbs tend to dry out and die.
Once established, as in this garden, they seed about and spread if allowed. They do get seedy looking (unattractive), and it requires patience to permit them to remain until they have dropped all their seeds and the little plants turn yellow, die down, and vanish. They taught me the meaning of the old saying "seedy looking".
But, those tiny seeds sprout and the little plant, over time, forms its little bulb. In a few years, once enough energy has been collected and stored in the bulb, the plant will bloom. Then the ragged, unattractive stage is happily forgiven when I accept its gift of spring.
When they did come up and bloom that first spring, we were enchanted. I try to protect them from foot traffic and let them spread.
These may be the first flowers to bloom. I can't think of anything blooming earlier here. Frequently, they are covered by snow, but that does not phase them. They just snuggle under.
When the sun is not shining they stay closed, protecting their pollen from the weather. When the sun shines they fling open their petals and welcome the little bees; the bees are ecstatic during these orgies.
Then the day comes when I don my wool hat and puddle-duck shoes and walk out to inspect the little yellow flowers that have bloomed in sheets. The first flowers - and there are sheets of them!
I told Mary that the prettiest colony of them was in the far back border near the property line fence. I asked if she planted all of those. She asked, "Where, honey?" I explained and described again, and she said, "Oh, honey, that's where I threw my pullin's."
And, that is what happened! She had a large brush pile back there where she threw everything; including her pullin's full of clinging seeds.
And, that is where one of the loveliest colonies grew.