Category: March Interest

Flowering Bulbs

Flowering Bulbs
March 22, 2020

Let us whir with the golden spoke-wheels
Of the sun.
For tomorrow Winter drops into the waste-basket,
And the calendar calls it March.

Amy Lowell (Lot 3401, Bellwort Path)

The scientific definition of the beginning of spring occurs with the vernal equinox (March 20). But, locally, we have experienced snowfall on the running of five Boston Marathons (1907, 1908, 1925, 1961, and 1967) and two Boston Red Sox games in Fenway Park were snowed out on April 8th and 10th in 1996. Boston had a half-inch of snow on May 10, 1977. This year, we place great hope in Lowell’s poetic weather prognostication. For many of us, the lovely sights of the first flowers opening from bulbs are our own “signs of spring”.  Flowering bulbs, corms, and tubers, which are modified perennial, herbaceous plants, are currently coming up in numerous locations, throughout our landscape.


Corneliancherry Dogwood, Cornus mas

Corneliancherry Dogwood, Cornus mas
April 3, 2018

…Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for ambition,
But some days I’d rather steep in my own kettle.
Give me chamomile, cowboys, cornelian cherries.
Let me sink, once again, into purposeless sleep.

Michael Steffen

After enduring a full month of March that was more often like a lion than a lamb, let us welcome the flowers of April. Sprightly, lightening our landscape in early April are the golden haze of flowers of the Corneliancherry dogwood, Cornus mas. Plants’ common names versus their Latin names may occasionally produce mini-conundrums, red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) is not a cedar (Cedrus), mountainash (Sorbus) is not an ash (Fraxinus), blue beech (Carpinus) is not a beech (Fagus), tulip poplar (Liriodendron) is not a poplar (Populus), etc.


Siberian Squill, Scilla siberica

Siberian Squill, Scilla siberica
April 1, 2011

The earth turns its northern face
closer to the sun
as March delivers a raw and damp April.
Everything is restless and impatient,
like small children
made to sit a little too long.

Donald Everett Axinn

One of the most impatient of springtime plants at Mount Auburn is Scilla siberica, Siberian squill. Its brilliant azure-blue flowers are one of our most striking springtime sights. The genus Scilla is represented by over eighty species of bulbous herbs native to Asia, Europe and Africa. Of these about a half-dozen species are planted for horticultural use in the United States. Scilla siberica is the most popular mainly due to its ability to produce a beautiful blue carpet just when we are all weary of our visually subdued winter landscape.