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The flowers above are called scilla. They come in a variety of colors and they’re one of the early signs of spring, dotting the untended suburban lawns. And if you have a few one year, you’ll have lots more the next year, and so on year after year. If you hire a lawn service every April, or if you simply use a good broad spectrum weed killer, you’ll be rid of this invasive weed. That’s why we never hire a lawn service or use weed killer.
Crocuses are often the flowers that announce the sure arrival of spring to the suburban gardener. But an earlier herald is winter aconite. These brilliant, miniature butter-cup-like flowers pop up, seemingly overnight, about the same time as snowdrops. In the photo above you can see winter aconite, hunched up and shivering among the remnants of a snow shower. When the sun shines a bit longer and warms them up, the flowers will expand into loose, cup-like shapes, as in the photo below. You can plant winter aconite and then forget it; it’s a hardy flower and it spreads easily. Winter aconite is said to be deer resistant. Those must be deer that live far, far away from our flower beds and vegetable patch. The deer around here will eat anything you’ve taken care to plant and to nourish.
Summer is over, and the garden which has cheered us all season looks depressingly bedraggled. Whether it’s the vegetable patch or the flower bed, it’s mostly gone. It’s weedy, overgrown, messy and, furthermore, someone is going to have to cut it back, pull out the withered vines, clean it up. But there are still morning glories. In the low morning sunlight they look like scraps torn from the sky. Others can rave about their hardy mums – you can have them by the bushel at the supermarket – but the morning glory can’t be sold or bought or cut or carried away. Its glorious shades of blue are evanescent and the flower itself is gone before the day is done.
If you keep looking for solace as summer ends (as we do), now’s the time to be grateful for nasturtiums. These are the most rewarding flowers. They seed easily, require no fertilizer, and given sun and water they’ll blossom through late summer and into chilly fall in dazzling bursts of color. In addition to presenting a brilliant appearance, nasturtiums are edible, both flowers and leaves, having a fine peppery taste taken whole or chopped in salads, soups, and butters. And if you work indoors at, say, writing grumpy political articles or reviews of overlooked movies, a small bunch of these blossoms will light up your desk or widow sill.