Winter officially ended for me this year at 8:42 a.m. on Feb. 18. It has nothing to do with an equinox, groundhogs, or the fact that we were sweeping snow off our sidewalks two days before that. It all depends on when I see the first daffodil has burst into bloom in my backyard. Everyone has their own personal milestone that marks the end of winter. For me, it is daffodils.
I am not trying to diminish the contribution of camellias or winter honeysuckle; but in my mind, the daffodils lead the parade of spring color. Whether it is a single perfect bloom or a whole field of yellow, these sunny flowers always chase away the gloom of winter; and I am so glad that I can see a patch of them from my kitchen window.
Daffodils actually originated in southern Europe. Believed to have medicinal properties, they were carried far and wide by the Roman army. This may not have been in the best interest of the soldiers since daffodils are poisonous, but we are thankful that this misunderstanding promoted the widespread distribution of these beautiful flowers which ultimately came to the United States by way of England.
Daffodils are long-lived, hearty, and continue to multiply each year when left to their own devices. It is easy to identify the location of an old homestead or cemetery when you see clumps of daffodils in unexpected places. These perennials have come to symbolize rebirth and new beginnings since they are normally the first blooms seen in the spring.
Eventually, I am going to follow through on a particular project that always comes to mind this time of year. I would like to photograph everything that blooms in the order I see them. For some reason, I am fascinated by the line-up of spring blooms here in north central Alabama. After the gloomy winter, the buds on various shrubs, vines, and trees burst into glorious color; and just as one is starting to fade, the next one comes forth to dazzle. It is nature’s fireworks display with one colorful explosion after another…ooh…aah!
I also think it is very interesting to drive a few miles to the north or south in the spring to see how much of a difference a short distance makes in what is in bloom. Something that is not yet blooming in Blountsville can be in full swing in Cleveland and past its peak in Locust Fork. I just love seeing this!
For you, what is that sure sign that tells you Spring is here or is at least just around the corner? Text it to me at 205-559-2206 and include your name. I will share these on the Chamber’s Facebook page. I would also love to share your beautiful photographs of lovely spring blooms here in Blount County. When you text me the pictures, don’t forget to include your name and where the picture was taken so I can give you credit.
On a final note, however you measure the end of winter, I hope Spring will be arriving soon in your own backyard!
Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce