Opinion: It’s spring: the Daffodils prove it


Commentary by Ward Degler

It’s spring. I know it is. Not because of the weather. It can be in single digits one day and a balmy 70 degrees the next. I know it’s spring because of daffodils.

When the first of March shows up, I can poke around in the leaves and dead grass and, lo and behold, there they are: Green shoots and wispy wands with yellow buds showing through.

Now, there are plants that grow in the north and plants that grow in the south. Daffodils grow everywhere. And they seem to thrive everywhere. I’ve poked around in the Minnesota snow and found daffodils in full bloom.

The only plants that are hardier than daffodils are pansies. I recall a couple winters ago bundling up to get the mail when it was near zero outside and being startled by blotches of bright color showing through the drifting snow. Pansies.

We didn’t have a lot of snow this winter, and spring has been free of surprises. None of that seems to make any difference to the pansies or to the daffodils. If I plant pansies in the spring, I’m reasonably assured they will still be hanging tough in mid-winter. And no matter what the weather is like,come March, the daffodils will be in full flower.

On the other hand, I planted several rose bushes a couple years ago. One of them died when the early spring frost hit, and another is on the iffy list. I don’t understand roses. Minneapolis has on its southern edge a magnificent rose garden. Every spring, a virtual army of gardeners weeds, fertilizes and prunes the plants back in the spring and carefully covers them in the fall. They still lose plants to frost every year and are constantly replanting. I don’t know what their budget is, but my guess is it is large.

You would think someone would recognize that roses are southern plants and plant something else in the north.

Like daffodils and pansies.