As the Dwarf Iris fade away for another season, the next round of early risers takes center stage in the rocky xeriscape gardens. This is the diminutive Grape Hyacinths which are among the other early spring flowers.
Like others, they are a bit slow to rise from their winter slumber given the weather conditions we’ve had so far this spring. March and April can often bring several heavy wet snowfalls with impressive snow totals. But that has not happened so far this year. Instead it’s been lots of ups and downs with temperature swings and light snowfall.
Spring can be unpredictable so maybe – just maybe there will be a bigger snowfall on the horizon? Regardless, I’m grateful to see what pops up in the gardens. With camera in hand, it can be full of surprises. And it’s nice to see these clusters of little purple-blue flowers now dot the otherwise dry, rocky gardens.
Grape Hyacinths – A Bit of Background Info…
The more I embark on this flower photography journey, the more I learn about the flowers I’m photographing. Ideally I’d love to live in a space where I can have my own garden. But in the mean time, I enjoy expanding my knowledge and sharing visually with others.
Despite what you might think, you don’t need some water-heavy garden to enjoy all kinds of flowers!! As I’ve observed, xeriscape gardens can offer remarkable and beautiful options.
Water is a precious commodity – especially given the climate challenges we currently face. A sprawling green lawn is becoming more of an eye-sore – IMHO – especially knowing what else is available.
That being said, according to my research: Grape Hyacinth “(Muscari armeniacum) is a genus of perennial bulbous plants native to Eurasia that produce spikes of dense, most commonly blue, urn-shaped flowers resembling bunches of grapes in the spring. The common name for the genus is grape hyacinth, but they should not be confused with hyacinths.”
As a perennial bulb in the Lily Family (Liliaceae) native to southeastern Europe, apparently they are easy-to-grow. This makes them considered ideal for woodland and rock gardens. Perhaps this is why they thrive so well in the local xeriscape gardens?
With their vibrant shades of purples varying from very light to almost blue, these little dense clusters certainly stand out – even though they grow so low to the ground.
Imagine a Spiky Cactus as Your Neighbor?
These little spring-blooming bulbs are quire fearless. It’s one thing to contend with the unpredictable spring weather. But imagine popping up after a long winter’s slumber only to have a cactus as your too-close-for-comfort neighbors!
It’s one thing to have noisy neighbors such as birds. But I have to question if these little flowers look around and ask themselves “geez, what were we thinking?!” Perhaps they need to speak with their “landlords” before next years spring bloom.
Capturing photos like these gives me a chuckle. Not to mention the precarious nature of getting too close to the “neighbors” to get the shot!
With their little grape-like looking clusters, they may be tiny but they do light up the gardens. And when you find them growing adjacent to a spiky barrel cactus or leopard cholla, it provides a unique level of contrasts and textures.
A Testament to Resiliency
Tiny but mighty, these little spring flowers are a testament to resiliency with their ability to bloom right through an April snow storm. They make me think of the mail – through rain, snow, sleet and hail. Although that was pre-Covid when mail actually got delivered. Pardon the snark but never have I experienced so many “USPS mail deliveries” that never actually made it!
I’d say these little flowers are more reliable seeing them unfazed through the spring elements.
Petite and Pretty
Grape Hyacinths may be petite, but what they lack in size, they make up for in beauty. They are a welcoming sight as they emerge from the ground and enliven an otherwise stark, early-spring xeriscape garden.
In years past I may have walked right by them unnoticed. But perhaps given their easy to grow nature these bulbs have formed larger colonies over the years which make them stand out as if to say “look at me, it’s spring!” 🙂