First cultivated flower
The first cultivated bloom of the year for us is always the hazel bushes. From a bee standpoint, it's nearly time to look for pollen when you see the catkins begin to loosen and yellow, meaning that stamens will soon emerge.
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I don't think the bush
really counts bloom time until a little later, though. The tiny female
flowers won't open up until the male flowers are in full bloom, which
probably won't be for a couple more weeks yet.
Meanwhile, for those of you keeping track in your own yards, I should mention that hazel is very different from witch hazel. The latter can bloom at any time between late fall and early spring, with the bloom time (according to Lee Reich)
depending on the number of chill hours the tree has enjoyed. Our witch
hazels bloomed quite early this winter, which I hope isn't an ominous
sign meaning our fruit trees will be similarly precipitous.