Spring bulbs make their return

Ah, spring has sprung in the Shuswap and everything is awakening with life again.

Ah, spring has sprung in the Shuswap and everything is awakening with life again.

Farmers and gardeners are beginning to prepare their yards and fields, newly arrived birds and insects are flitting about, the stinkbugs are oozing out of the cracks and crannies of our homes and the trees and shrubs are bursting with buds.

Balmy breezes are now caressing our cheeks, the delicious scents of fresh earth, rains and growing grass are tickling our noses and the visual parade of bulbous perennial flowers are beginning to emerge from their secret hiding places under the cold ground.

The old Stadnicki homestead in Sicamous has had a spectacular backyard meadow for years (their new home has taken up a piece of it, so it’s now re-establishing itself) of riotous colour from late winter onwards, from a succession of beautiful blooming bulbs that rise up everywhere through their lawns, garden beds and under the apple trees, and looks as though it came right out of an English painting.

First to poke up through the patches of white and green were the sturdy little snowdrops and the dainty blue, white and pink Chionodoxa (known as glory-of-the-snow), along with a bright yellow carpet of aconite (a little woodland buttercup) under the big maple tree. Over the weeks, the warmth of the sun slowly teases out the clusters of multi-coloured crocuses and grape hyacinths, then the bluebells and their incredible variety of daffodils and tulips – many of which had come from heritage catalogues or old gardens.

Years ago, when I was living on the Island, I spent a month risking life and limb to rescue a couple of thousand snowdrops that had unceremoniously been bulldozed over a 200-foot bank from a demolition of an old lodge and surrounding gardens.

What amazed and impressed me from that overzealous exercise, was that many of those pretty little plants had to be dug out from a depth of well over a foot and a half, and yet the more mature but still mini bulbs had somehow managed to produce petals plus still had enough energy to produce a flower.

Talking about being determined to survive!

The pretty flowering bulbs of spring are sure a sight for sore eyes for us humans after a colourless and dreary winter. But they’re even more so for the pollinating insects, because their food supply is scarce at this time of year.

These plants play a crucial role in their survival – and by extension all living things that depend on them – so buy, bum or rescue them if they’re going to go under the blade, and dig them in all over your yard like the Stadnicki family did.