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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.