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A Watched Plot Spring Blubs

You know the saying “a watched pot never boils?” – this year’s numerous “false starts” for spring makes this saying particularly apt. With warm temperatures for a few days, snowdrops, witch hazel and other early bloomers started appearing and it was hard not to get our hopes up and look for other spring blooms.


This year, however, watch those garden plots all you want, they’re not going to Spring into action until they’re good and ready. Nature follows its own rules and snubs any sayings, pleas, expectations and/or exclamations of “last year at this time, my ____ were blooming!”

Some gardeners, who wish to remain anonymous, are thinking (she says sheepishly) “what’s wrong with my garden this year?” Maybe nothing is wrong – perhaps my watched plot just isn’t ready to boil. Yet.

Some watched plots trick you and just when your back is turned – if only for a minute – things suddenly look different. Turn around, look outside and simply enjoy an unexpected beauty. It makes a gardener’s heart skip a beat. Beauty in your garden isn’t found only in plantings, take the time to look at what’s happening in your garden and see the beautiful changes. A later winter garden transitioning to spring holds many beautiful surprises.

frozen stream

My dry stream bed has a low area in which water accumulates. This year, the surface froze and it looked like an outdoor skating rink with an uneven surface. The ice made patterns, leaves were decorating the surface stuck in the ice, and I could see the different pebbles just inches below the surface:

tulipsNo, it wasn’t the same kind of excitement as watching the garden Spring to life but in some ways, watching this unique feature added a new dimension to the garden and the visual interest satisfied my need for seasonal change, texture, shapes and the unexpected.

Before the last snow, many gardens showed signs of spring growth. The green tips of many plants were visible everywhere, some were developed enough to be identified. In my garden I saw alliums, tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, camass and more.

And then it snowed. My watched plot’s “flame” was lowered for a short time and I couldn’t help but be disappointed. It felt like spring would never come. That glorious feeling of watching things come alive and blossom was a distant memory.

But a little snow and colder temperatures don’t deter Nature – they just play tricks on some of us impatient gardeners.

Last night someone must have decided to turn on the flame a little higher because while making coffee this morning, I “casually” glanced at the garden and saw . . .

     daffodils     Spring Tulips

My watched plot is starting to “boil.” The backyard’s “Crocus Carpet” has been utterly delightful and these reliable spring bloomers continue to usher in the next season:

        White Crocus     purple crocus

When I saw the first daffodils and hints of the little tulipa emerging, I decided to check out the beds to see if anything else was “boiling.” And much to my surprise, I found the sweet little violas, planted last fall for color before winter, returned – not in full force, but there’s enough color to make the garden feel like things are starting to roll . . .


The succulents planted last summer are producing lovely fresh, new “chicks” and the different varieties of hellebores are blooming– maybe the garden’s coming to a slow boil under my impatient gaze.

As impatient as some of us are, it is important to take notice of the beauty of a garden as it slowly transitions to the next season. Sooner than you know, our pots will be boiling over and spring’s blooms will flood our senses.

  Spring Bulbs Spring Buds Roses

Yes, it’s a maddening month, even for those not interested in March Madness, but it is the month to expect the unexpected – maybe you can watch YOUR pot boil or perhaps you’d like to be surprised, let it boil over and then wander outside and see what you’ve cooked up. No matter what, it’s sure to be delicious.

Posted By: Emily Stashower Behnkes Guest Blogger

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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