The very first signs of new growth and spring awakening are here. The pussy willows on the Salix bebbiana, Bebb’s Willow, near the Harbor Islands Pavilion, are starting to bloom and, with this cooler weather, should be around for the next few weeks. The Snowdrops, Galanthus nivilus, always the very first bulbs to push through and bloom, have poked their shy, nodding heads up. And another, less common bulb, the Winter Aconite, or Eranthis hyemalis, is showing off it’s small but very sunny face on the south end of our Urban Arboretum.

Salix bebbiana, Bebb’s Willow

Salix bebbiana, Bebb’s Willow

Galanthus elwesii, Snowdrops

Galanthus elwesii, Snowdrops

Most plants like to begin spring slowly stretching and getting their sap moving. These first small blooms are a sort of early warning system. “Be on your toes” and “keep your eyes open for more” seem to be what they are saying. Soon the daffodils and narcissus, the plums and cherries, and the maples will be all swelling buds and opening flowers—showing off!  There are LOTS of bulbs to come, especially in the Fort Point Channel and North End Parks, which will make for an exciting, bright display.

Eranthis hyemalis, Winter Aconite

Eranthis hyemalis, Winter Aconite

At this time of year we won’t get any screaming, in-your-face displays of splashy color. Oops, I’m wrong! Take a walk on Purchase Street past the Boston Fire Department and look east, to the Greenway and toward the Harbor. The yellow Witchhazels, considered a small tree rather than a shrub, are close to screaming yellow. These are the Hamamelis ‘Arnold’s Promise’, which are finally in full bloom, and on a good sunny day, filling the air with their sweet mysterious scent. Everyone should have one in their yard, don’t you think?

Hamamelis,  'Arnold's Promise'

Hamamelis, ‘Arnold’s Promise’