Officially Spring is around the corner! This year the spring equinox is on Thursday, March 19th. This is the earliest spring equinox since 1896 (that’s 124 years!)
Here in Northeastern Nevada this time of year can be tricky, but I’m celebrating the glimpses we are having and have officially placed myself on “daffodil watch”.
What is daffodil watch? That is when, as you drive around, you keep your eyes peeled for daffodils and when you see one, you point and shout with great exuberant joy, “daffodil!!!!”. This is what we do in our family because daffodils are my favorite flower and they only last for a short while. Seeing a daffodil brings me so much joy, I just can’t help but squeal with excitement, respect and awe of nature.
Photo from: atmywindow.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Classic-Yellow-Daffodil1.png
The physical beauty of the daffodil delights me, but the science behind the re-appearance year after year is what really makes me say, “yea nature!”. The daffodil is in the genus Narcissus and is part of the Amaryllis family. There are many varieties of daffodils due to selective breeding, but all seem to announce the beginning of spring. The cool thing about daffodils is that they are planted in the fall, as a bulb, and bust out in spring, even through snow!
What is bulb? A bulb is a ‘storage organ’ that is a stem made of layers of modified leaves that store nutrients. Roots will emerge out of the bottom of the bulb when conditions are right, and new growth will emerge from the top. Bulbs are considered dormant, which means temporarily inactive. They are not dead! Dormant is not dead! Plant bulbs are only one example of the many living things that utilize dormancy to overcome environmental stress or gather energy for future growth.
Figure from: www.townsendlandscape.com
After enough energy has been gathered, and the environmental conditions are correct (sunlight, temperature, and moisture) we will witness the new growth as it emerges from the ground. All that time underground, in the dark and cold, important biological processes
were occurring, we just couldn’t see them! But WOW! What a display we get to observe.
The bright colors and the sleek leaf-less stem is a sight to behold! Then, as the foliage begins to yellow and fade, the bulb begins to gather energy for the next season, and returns to dormancy once more.
When we see a daffodil, we are witnessing the evidence of a beautiful cycle in nature. One that, as humans, we might be wise to learn from and begin to follow. There is time for gathering energy and time for display. Nature has an amazing way of balancing rest and growth.
This spring, as you drive around, have fun with daffodil watch! I hope you find joy in the beautiful evidence of the awesomeness of nature!!