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Blooming bulbs and camellias ­herald spring

From left to right: white daffodil, mini Tete-a-Tete, orange-centered daffodil, tall bell Leucojum, deep purple hyacinth, pink camellias, purple crocus, white snowdrops, yellow daffodil, mini daffodil with extra-long cup or corona, tiny two-toned Minnow daffodil, pink-centered daffodil and butterfly type split-corona daffodil.
       After a long winter, the early spring flowers are eagerly anticipated. I always believe in the wisdom of the groundhog and his prediction of an early spring, but this year his timing was a little off. When the bulbs started to bloom, I forgave him. Bulbs come in thousands of varieties.
      Nothing speaks of spring as much as the advent of snowdrops. They actually poke through the snow as early as February. Their little upside-down bells are outlined in a delicate spring green, and they are sweetly fragrant. Double ones bloom a little earlier. Snowdrops can be dug up while they are in bloom or just finished, separated and spread to new areas. They should be planted two to three inches deep.
     Leucojums are giant snowdrops that usually bloom in clusters.  There are also mini-flowered ones that are great for rock gardens and special nooks, and sometimes they are fragrant.
     Traditional yellow daffodils are the most popular and easy-to-grow blubs. There are completely white daffodils. Then there are the ones with pink coronas, or centers. The catalogs make them look a beautiful shade of pink, but they are more peachy colored than true pink. There are also ones with split coronas, usually referred to as butterfly daffodils, but I find they do not reliably come back. Tete-a’-Tetes are mini yellow daffodils that can be tucked into rocky edges or the sides of stepping stones.
      Hyacinths come in with their heady fragrance soon after the first trumpet daffodils.
     Write down and photograph what you like as a planting guide. Generally, spring-blooming bulbs are planted in the fall, with larger bulbs planted at least six inches deep or slightly deeper.
     As for shrubs, camellias come in a multitude of varieties, many that are hardy to Zone 6, and blooming times. They do not always come to fruition every year, as very low extended temperatures in the spring can damage the buds. Last year my camellia blossoms were all brown before they even opened. However, when we have a relatively mild winter, they are gorgeous.