First flowers of spring

The first crocus of spring, spotted March 17.

Today is the first day of spring, but normally here in northern Illinois that doesn’t mean a whole lot and we’re still in a deep freeze. This year has been different. It has been mostly above freezing since the beginning of March, leading to a worrying development as all the bulbs I planted last fall started to come up really early.

This is our first spring owning a house so I’d never had a chance to plant bulbs before and I didn’t know what to expect. Being spring flowers I assumed they were pretty hardy, but what would happen if it dropped back into the 20s or below, or we got a bunch more snow? That weather certainly is not out of the question in this area at this time of year.

So ever since I saw the first buds poking out of the ground I have been a little nervous about the weather and how it would affect them, but it has continued to cooperate so far, and on St. Patrick’s Day I saw the first crocus had opened, which feels like the unofficial start of spring.

In my book Farmer Bear’s Garden, Farmer Bear and Little Bear have to worry about picking bugs off the plants in their garden to keep them growing. It’s a little early for bugs yet, but I do have a problem with rabbits. They’re cute and it’s kind of fun to see them frolicking in the backyard, until you go out there and see they’ve eaten off the tops of a good portion of the flowers you’ve been waiting all winter to see.

I know a fence is the only surefire solution but that’s just too much work right now with flowers in so many different places and it being such an uncertain time in general, so I went to the hardware store to look for some sort of rabbit deterrent. I got something to sprinkle around the flowers, so we’ll see what happens. Hopefully it works and we can soon be enjoying lots of pretty spring tulips, daffodils and lilies in addition to the first crocus.

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