THE CROCUS SITUATION is making unexpected and heartening progress. We recently noted in this space that, contrary to all the pessimistic forecasts, green shoots had begun to appear. There is now a remarkable further development to report: there are fat yellow buds on those shoots.

You can question the crocuses' judgment, in choosing to appear at the present bleak and unpromising moment, but not their courage. In the face of highly discouraging weather forecasts, they have once again engaged in their annual effort to cheer up a race of bipeds suffering from too long a winter, and oppressed by the thought of federal income tax returns due not many weeks in the future.

Those are tough little flowers. For the past several mornings there has been a quarter of an inch of ice on the goldfish pool beside their beds. There has been a steady breeze from the north, and the evergreens keep moving uneasily. Not the crocuses. They just stand there, looking pleased with themselves and with the world in general.

The central question at this point is whether spring will ever arrive. Opinion in the garden is heavily inclined to the negative. Several of the perennials seem to have given up altogether and died. There is no sign whatever of the other early bulbs, inducing the dark thought that the squirrels probably got them again. Those squirrels look suspiciously sleek for this time of year. The bare earth is still a gray winter color.

The crocuses represent the minority opinion. They seem to feel strongly that spring is on its way. There is no evidence of it whatever, of course, but their faith is admirable. In gardens, as in the Supreme Court, minority opinions--however improbable they may seem at first--sometimes turn out to prevail. Watch this space. Or, better still, watch those crocuses.