Bulbs in late February
There have been years when the clump of ‘February Gold’ daffodil (Narcissus ‘February Gold’) has flowered in February, but I don’t recall when. In most years the blooms arrive after other varieties that should flower weeks later. The blame, I suspect, is that ‘February Gold’ is somewhat shaded by a multi-trunked ‘Jane’ magnolia so that it is slightly cooler, thus delaying its development. Each year I wait anxiously.
In any case, ‘February Gold’ has spread nicely through the years and a dozen or two small bulbs have spread to cover thirty or forty square feet. If the spot was sunnier the clump is likely to have spread further. Taller growing daffodils spread more slowly, but are equally welcomed in early March, and again this year most all will flower ahead of the very early flowering ‘February Gold’.
Snowdrops (Galanthus, above) are the earliest of the winter flowering bulbs in my garden with flowers often arriving by mid January, though the petals often do not open fully until a month later. Today, nearly at the end of February the petals have not spread, so I expect them to persist for at least another few weeks. There seems to be quite a ruckus in some parts over new and rare varieties of snowdrop, but the common types are quite wonderful, and there is no reason at all to go off the deep end in spending for flowers with insignificant differences to anyone but collectors.
The small snowdrop bulbs are inexpensive, as are most late winter and early spring flowering bulbs, and there is little excuse for purchasing these in increments any fewer than fifty or a hundred (and five hundred is not too many). I (of course) have planted only a handful or two here and there, not just of snowdrops, but winter aconites (Eranthis, above) and crocus (below). The plan in planting so few was for them to spread vigorously, and as you suspect they have not multiplied as rapidly as planned.
When I first began this garden I stumbled onto a few thousand tulips, with several hundred each of perhaps eight or ten varieties. The first spring was marvelous, even if the neighborhood squirrels had their fill in digging up the fat bulbs.
The second spring only a fraction of the bulbs returned as squirrels fattened themselves and others perished in the poorly drained clay soil. By the fourth years only a few remained, and these faded to only a memory after another year or two.
Squirrels also harvest the small crocus bulbs, but some parts of the garden seem more vulnerable to this than others. At the area at the corner of the front walk and the driveway crocus have spread modestly, so if the squirrels are getting any of the bulbs there are at least enough newcomers to keep the number growing slightly each year.