"Wind S.W. Brisk, sunshine warm. Warm, hazy air all day till sunset. Mezereons(i) bloom. Gooseberry and Elder put out their leaves. Apricots just show their blossom buds. Lesser Tortoiseshell Butterfly appears. Single Hepaticas in full bloom. First Violets blow, and Single Daffodils and Persian Iris(ii)."
That was Thomas Gray, poet and scholar, writing in his journal in Cambridge in March, 1755, as quoted by George Myerson in A Private History Of Happiness: Ninety-Nine Moments of Joy from Around the World.
Myerson comments, "Each moment seemed to bring a new gift ... It was as if small wonders were being conjured up by a magic spell. The garden was coming back to life one flower at a time... Yet at the same time, as a promise of all that would soon come, there was also the 'full bloom' of the Hepaticas. Their cycle of bloom was completing as other plants were just beginning. Gray was looking at the wonderful intricacy of time itself in this miniature of the natural world, forever consummated and reborn."
(i) Daphne mezereum.
(ii) The pictures are of Iris reticulata 'Harmony', not Gray's Iris persica.