Welcome Spring?

The calendar shows today as the first full day of Spring 2015 but, outside, Old Man Winter is doing its best to cover all evidence of Spring. Still, even with another three inches of fresh snow covering the ground, gardeners welcome spring.

As the season officially turned to Spring last evening at 6:45 pm, snow was falling. It doesn’t look very spring-like outside this morning.

The first full day of Spring in south-central Connecticut

The first full day of Spring in south-central Connecticut

But yesterday, during an early morning walk I found hints of Spring.

Tete-a tete narcissi barely peeking out of the ground

Tete-a tete narcissi barely peeking out of the ground

The few narcissi bulbs not still buried deep under snow cover were peeking out of the ground. I call this hope and, after looking back at last year’s progress, these sprouts are only slightly smaller than on the first day of Spring last year.

Yep … hope.

More hope shows inside, under lights, where basil seedlings have sprouted.

basil seedlings

basil seedlings

They have a way to go before they are large enough to flavor meals, but these tiny plants bring hope.

For this gardener, one of the best ways to maintain hope while waiting for spring temperatures to actually arrive is to plant seeds. If you need a boost to start some of your own seeds, read my seed starting process.

Grow a seed … believe in the future.

And … welcome Spring even when the outdoor landscape is draped in white.

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Fig tree seeking spring

Late afternoon sunshine streams through the front windows during winter and into early spring, making the front windows the best spot for the fig tree seeking spring.

My five-foot tall fig refused to remain dormant in the cool basement. Lengthening daylight spurred its leaves to open, leaving me no option but to provide it as much sunlight as possible.

Opening the front door and moving the rapidly leafing-out Chicago Hardy Fig to soak in sun through the glass storm door highlighted the interesting fig leaf structure. So … what better to do than grab my camera.

Though snow still covers the ground and winter is being stubborn about releasing its grip on temperatures, the fig has decided it’s done with dormancy.

Fig tree soaking up winter sun

Fig tree soaking up winter sun

Once outdoor spring gardening becomes possible I’ll have little time to relish the beauty of fig leaves.

fig leaves against a snow-covered background.

fig leaves against a snow-covered background.

Late afternoon sunlight helps highlight their graceful veining and harsh texture …

The veining and structure of fig leaves against a dark background.

The veining and structure of fig leaves against a dark background.

… and graceful beauty.

Fig leaves in late afternoon sunlight.

Fig leaves in late afternoon sunlight.

 

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Monitoring snow melt

With just five days since our last snow fall it’s been great to be able to watch mounds of snow melt away. The sand crane statue is perfect for monitoring snow melt … much more interesting than a common yardstick.

The last snowstorm, March 5th – hoping it really is our last – added another 7″ of snow on top of the drifts and piles built up this winter. Overall, the 67″ of snow that’s fallen during the winter of 2014-2015 on my south-central Connecticut gardens is not an unusual amount. During the 2013-2014 winter our snowfall total was about 66″. These two more recent winters brought much less than the 82″ of snowfall measured during the 2012-2013 winter.

I much prefer a snowy winter to one that’s just cold and gray. Snow gives the landscape a totally different look and brings such interesting highlights to shrubs and tree forms. Still, this winter the snow seems so much deeper. The bulk of it fell in about one month’s time and it’s been remarkably cold. February 2015 was the coldest on record in Connecticut, which prevented snow melt and allowed snow piles and drifts to grow and grow.

Snow piles and drifts were so deep by March 5 that my sand crane statue was nearly buried.

Sand crane statue barely showing above the snow.

Sand crane statue barely showing above the snow.

Now, five days later, its neck is completely exposed and its river rock body is showing enough to capture more of March’s warming sun.

snow finally melting around the snow crane statue

snow finally melting around the snow crane statue

Each day we get a bit closer to seeing bare ground. I suspect crocus and other spring-blooming bulbs are perched just below the surface ready to pounce into bloom as soon as the snow blanket melts away. Before long … just a few months from now … the same sand crane will be surrounded by greenery, blossoms, and buzzing insects.

Sand crane statue with balloon flowers

Sand crane statue with balloon flowers

And everything in my garden – myself included – will sigh, “Ahhhhh!”

 

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