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Harbingers of spring

Spring starts on the 21st of March. However, the harbingers of spring are usually to be found a few weeks beforehand. From the end of February/beginning of March, early bloomers reminds us to look forward to the spring ahead. After the long, cold, and dark winter months, spring brings new life to the natural world. The days get longer, flowers start to bloom, trees and shrubs have shoots again and the animal world begins to surface from its winter sleep.

Spring starts on the 21st of March. However, the harbingers of spring are usually to be found a few weeks beforehand. From the end of February/beginning of March, early bloomers reminds us to look forward to the spring ahead. After the long, cold, and dark winter months, spring brings new life to the natural world. The days get longer, flowers start to bloom, trees and shrubs have shoots again and the animal world begins to surface from its winter sleep.

This is the time of the early bloomer. The warmth and sunshine of early spring are actually not sufficient to provide optimum nutrition for plants. The amount of sunshine is not adequate for optimum photosynthesis, which is required for the formation of shoots. However, spring flowering plants have found a solution to this problem. They have a type of store cupboard where they keep the nutrients, minerals and starch which are essential for their survival and which they store during the year before. They also gather energy in their bulbs in winter, and then use it in spring to open and flower.

A differentiation is usually made between annual and perennial spring flowering plants. The perennial varieties survive the winter by dropping seeds. Annual spring flowering plants, on the other hand, die during the winter.

At this point, we would like to introduce some of the most beautiful and well-known spring flowering plants:

Snowdrops

Snowdrops warm the cockles of your heart as one of first flowers seen in early spring. Their heads peep out of the still-cold ground between the end of February and the beginning of March. Botanically speaking, snowdrops are a perennial herbaceous plant and grow to a height of around 20 cm. They have smooth-edged leaves and white flowers. If you want to establish snowdrops in your garden, it is advisable to put several bulbs in one place as only one flower stalk forms from each bulb. Snowdrops prefer damp, shady positions and are often found in forest glades, meadows and deciduous forests. Flowering snowdrops are also available as pot plants until March and can be planted in the garden after they have flowered.

Crocuses

Crocuses look simply wonderful whatever their shape, colour or variety. They are particularly attractive when their colourful flowers burst out of the covering of snow which is still on the ground. The botanical term 'crocus' is derived from the Greek 'kroki', which means 'thread'. This refers to the thread-shaped stigma of the crocus flower. The flowering season of this small flower begins at the end of February/start of March. The 8-15 cm tall crocuses flower in the spring in yellow, bluey-purple and white. Humus-rich, airy and porous soil is best for these plants. If possible, they should be placed in a sunny and warm location, but temporary shade does not stop the crocuses from thriving.

Pussy willow or catkins

The German name 'Palmkätzchen' (palm kitten) comes from this tree being used in many areas as a replacement for palm crosses on Palm Sunday. Pussy willows flower at the beginning of March and are often the first square meal for bees after the long winter. The Latin name is 'salix caprea': 'Salix' means 'willow' and 'caprea' means 'goat'. This is a reminder that goats like to nibble at the branches. Since willows are so undemanding, it is often not difficult to plant pussy willows. They propagate very easily from cuttings.

If you see one of these specimens by the side of the road sometime soon or even spot a couple of flowers in your own garden, you can rest assured that spring is not too far off!

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