A tad early for narcissi in Connecticut

A quick stroll around my Connecticut gardens brought this surprize.


That’s right … narcissi bulbs already poking their inquisitive heads out of the ground as if to say, “Is it time?”

My response when I first spotted them on January 2?  A resounding, “NO!”

The calendar says January. We should have snow on the ground and be bundled up in front of a roaring fire.

But, outside of a couple of below-freezing days earlier this week it’s been ridiculously warm. Today it’s 50 degrees outside and there is no snow or winter-type cold in the forecast.

Obviously, bulbs don’t follow the calendar. They follow a mysterious internal clock that signals when it’s time to grow.

From their point of view they had snow (it came in October), they had some cold here and there, and now they’re responding to a stretch of spring-like warmth.


Maybe I should listen to what their presence is suggesting. Maybe … though it’s January … mild temperatures will continue. Maybe narcissi will be blooming in February.

I’m not ready to buy this. I still expect to get slammed with a nasty stretch of winter weather. Of course it will hit when all New Englanders have really let their winter guard down and lost their winter blood. That’s just the way these things work.

So I did what any mother hen gardener would do.

I covered my early risers hoping a conifer blanket will hold the chill in the soil and slow the bulbs’ growth.


Time will tell if this tactic works.

At the very least it makes me feel that I’ve done my best to fool the young whippersnappers back to sleep.

9 comments for “A tad early for narcissi in Connecticut

  1. January 6, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Joene, your early risers and your cover-up solution may become the norm in these strange, warm times, raising the question we’re all asking: What’s next? Your piece reminds me to go out and check for plants that normally wouldn’t be *thinking* of putting up new growth in January.

    • joenesgarden
      January 7, 2012 at 10:13 am

      I’ll be checking for other early risers as well, Lee, as I continue to wonder what will become the new normal.

  2. January 7, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    It’s so strange here too. My tulips are coming up, the snowdrops are in full flower, with their little white nodding heads fully out. My narcissi are also coming up. I like your solution of covering them up. I hope it will work to delay them. They can’t possibly survive all of January and February!

    • joenesgarden
      January 8, 2012 at 2:11 pm

      Laurrie, I’m repuropsing evergreen boughs from decorations and the Christmas tree to bulb covers, as I do every year, but this year it really feels necessary.

  3. January 8, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    You too? I have heard from so many gardeners this year about their bulbs starting to grow including my own. My garden thinks it is spring already. Have a wonderful week.

    • joenesgarden
      January 8, 2012 at 10:56 pm

      Lona, I’m hearing the same from more and more gardeners. It’s going to be another interesting gardening year.

  4. Kathy D.
    January 9, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    I followed your old blog to this one. Enjoy your posts. Kathy

  5. January 9, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Joene, I’ve got some bulbs coming up already, too. I’m almost afraid to see how we’ll have to ‘pay’ for this unseasonably warm start to winter.

    • joenesgarden
      January 9, 2012 at 8:45 pm

      Debbie, If the weather forecast I heard tonight is accurate we’ll start feeling real winter beginning this coming weekend. I still think we … and our bulbs … are going to pay for the mild weather we’ve had.

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