The Ravages of Winter, the Promise of Spring

Lawn in Spring, dug up from snowplow.
The ravages of winter: the lawn in spring. Photography copyright © Serena Kovalosky

This is my front lawn.

Since we had such a mild winter the ground never froze, so every time I had my driveway snowplowed, the blade scraped up stones and dirt from the driveway, ripped up the lawn and deposited the whole, snowy mess in the middle of the front yard…right where I had carefully transplanted the snowdrops last spring.

It somehow represented the culmination of the last three years. I had moved back to my hometown in upstate New York in 2020, just before the pandemic hit, to care for my elderly Mom. She passed away at home four months later, at the height of COVID, and I spent the next few years working through the grieving process while humanity seemed to be falling apart. I spent that time in creative hibernation – caring for the land and creating an Eco-Garden that healed my soul and kept me grounded in such uncertain times. By 2023, I had emerged on the other side, stronger and more sure of my path – and decided to stay at the homestead.

The mess on my lawn, however, was a visual reminder that the world is still in great upheaval: while the worst of the pandemic seems to be behind us, there are many challenges still ahead of us. We thought we had made it through a long, dark winter only to find spring is still a long ways away.

Nothing gets done by doing nothing. I took a deep breath and knelt down to begin the slow, careful task of clearing away the stones, dirt and clumps of lawn as I searched for signs of  snowdrops, a hint of spring, under the rubble. I caught a glimpse of pale purple and uncovered three tiny crocuses that survived. They were small and fragile with only a subtle hint of purple as compared to the brightly-colored ones that came up last year. I looked them up and found they are a cultivated Blue Pearl crocus, hybridized in Holland in 1950. They were probably introduced to the property by my mom for her flower garden.

Purple and white crocus 2023
Blue Pearl crocus (2023). Photography © Serena Kovalosky.

These are the crocuses that came up in 2022. I haven’t seen any of them this year.

Purple and white crocuses 2022
2022 crocuses. Photography © Serena Kovalosky

And then, lo and behold, I started finding the snowdrops I had separated and transplanted last year – all just beginning to bloom!

White snowdrop flowers
Snowdrops just beginning to bloom (2023). Photography © Serena Kovalosky

Spring has arrived after all! Underneath all the dirt and chaos and my transplanting experiment was a lesson in taking the time and effort to find what’s good in this moment and to nurture it so it can grow and thrive.


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And Now for the Science…

Blue Pearl Crocus (Crocus chrysanthus) is a species crocus that was first hybridized in Holland in 1950. Also known as botanical or snow crocus. Native to the Mediterranean, eastern Europe and northwest China. Species crocuses are the first of the crocus to bloom in spring. Varieties of species crocus have dainty, one-inch flowers. The Blue Pearl crocus has three periwinkle blue bottom petals and three creamy white top petals with a bright yellow center. 
Sources: Wikipedia, BulbBlog, Eden Brothers

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4 thoughts on “The Ravages of Winter, the Promise of Spring

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  1. Morning Serena, A very inspiration story. Am proud of your upbeat amazing strength. Just like those crocus and snowdrops. Not sure how you can keep that gravel away. But, perhaps somekind of barrier during the winter, high enough to catch some of that stuff. Looking forward to seeing what else you will find popping up. Hugs

    1. Morning, Susan, and thank you! Gardens are good grounding in challenging times! As for the snowplowing, I will be getting a little snowblower that will be gentler on the driveway and eliminate the annual spring cleanup on my lawn. This year was the worst due to the ground not freezing.

  2. Thanks, Serena for this up lifting story. And yes Spring is coming. Our Snow Drops have the advantage of no plowing but they were transplanted from a place of great neglect some years ago. Such strong wills they have. Thanks again

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