Good News, Bad News

Yesterday, January 7, it hit 55 degrees. It was a lovely day for a walk and for puttering around. On my way down to the mailbox to send a DVD back to Netflix, I noticed this in the perennial border:


Siberian iris shoots have been popping up throughout this warm autumn — anywhere there was a bit of root left from all my perennial border renovations this summer, those tough little guys sent up tiny new leaves. But if you look more closely, you'll see something else:


Yep, that's a tulip. In January. In Massachusetts. So I gave a much closer look to the border, and there's also new growth on what should be a dormant delphinium:


Some daffodils are also making an early appearance:


So the good news here is that the goddamn squirrels didn't get all of my bulbs in their digging frenzy earlier this fall. That had been a very real fear. There are tulips poking their noses out all over the border, so a whole lot survived the marauding hordes.

But that's kind of the bad news too — all of my bulbs are coming up three months ahead of schedule! I know this isn't totally unusual — lots of daffodils get snowed on and do just fine. I did a little online research, and most gardening advice boards had similar responses: namely, that I can relax. There's a pretty thorough discussion here at bulbblog.com. Turns out that they'll just stop growing when temperatures drop again, and the worst that will happen is that the exposed tops of those leaves will get nipped and come up brown and ratty at the tips when the plant opens. I can live with that.

I might be partly responsible for this turn of events, though, if I didn't plant the bulbs deep enough. That could absolutely be part of the issue: I planted literally hundreds of bulbs, and my hands were pretty tired by the end. Corners may have been cut. Right now, though, I will continue to blame the weather, hope for the best, and reserve the right to recant if they still sprout early in some seasonably cold winter in the future.

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