Stutter Stepping into Spring

Spring is a two steps forward and one step back affair. Bike commuting last week I wore shorts—in March!—on the way home one day, then two days of riding in the rain followed by two days of moderately layered. The rain was refreshing and cleansing and caused me to start remembering all the spots on my commute where water pools up. I got a little wet, but I do not have to shovel rain so silver linings. Plus we turned over our rain barrels in the garden and they both are now pretty much full. We have a third rain barrel on order from the city but won’t get to pick that up until the end of April. 

Tomorrow’s forecast suggests 70F is possible, only to be followed by two days in the 30s. But then 60s after that. Stutter stepping into spring.

silver maple in bloom

The trees are not wasting any time. Silver Maple is blooming and I noticed for the first time that squirrels like to snack on the flowers. Why did it take me so long to notice they did this? They clearly know to not eat all the flowers because that will mean no seeds, which they also like to eat, as do I. But there is no harm in snacking on a few flowers.

Witch Hazel is also blooming. Ki began life blooming in late fall like all the other witch hazels do, but at some point fall blooming became spring blooming. Ki holds onto autumn’s dry leaves throughout the winter so the pretty little yellowy spidery flowers get lost. But this time of year is also the windiest and Wind helps Witch Hazel let go of the old leaves and in the process the flowers become more visible.

hazelnut in bloom

Hazelnut is also blooming. Ki is covered profusely this year with catkins. Hazelnuts have male and female flowers on the same tree. The catkins are the male flowers and produce pollen that then drifts into the tiny female flowers that look more like red-tipped buds than actual flowers. Every year at this time I am hopeful that maybe, just maybe, I will beat the squirrels to the nuts at the end of August. It is has not happened yet, but hope springs eternal as the saying goes. I have not seen Hazelnut with so many male flowers before, so I hope that is a good sign.

Since the snow is gone and the time has changed making it lighter in the evenings for longer, the Dashwoods are able to enjoy plenty of time roaming the garden, scratching in the dirt, and eating bugs and seeds. When I get home from work I let them out of the run and giggle at how excited they are, running up the steps from the chicken garden into the main garden. Yesterday it rained and they were stuck in the covered run all day. But today, they have been out since sunrise. There is nothing planted or growing yet that they can eat or otherwise destroy, so I am happy for them to turn the soil and make fertilizer deposits for another three weeks before they are banished to the chicken garden for the growing season. 

Elinor and Margaret
Mrs. Dashwood

The seeds I started indoors are doing ok. They sprang up so fast and then I unplugged the warming mat and hung a grow light over them and they have slowed their growth and made me worried about them not being far enough along. Clearly my house is not encouragingly warm. I plugged the warming mat back in last week and I hope they are encouraged to start growing again. 

The big plant sale James and I like to attend will be held this year in a pandemic appropriate way. We really missed it last year. I have been busy first making a giant list of all the plants I wish I could have, and currently I am narrowing it down to what is truly reasonable. There are now two varieties of peaches that are reliably hardy and I was hoping to bring one home, but there is much work involved in making a place for it—moving a 15-year-old climbing rose and doing some fence repair—that, coupled with a bunch of other more urgent things we need to do, seemed like too much. No peach tree this year then, but fingers crossed for next year!

I am thinking about getting another grape, this one to be planted at the foot of Walter the crabapple who will then serve as a trellis. I am also considering another red currant. The one I have is beautiful and prolific and I love red currant jam, not only for its tang but also because it is so gosh darn gorgeous to look at. Can one have too much red currant jam? 

The remainder of my list is herbs and native perennials. I don’t have a place for all the perennials on the list and they are the ones making the winnowing most difficult. I have until May 7th to figure it out. Plenty of time to agonize, decide, change my mind, and then change my mind again. Ha!

Related Posts

11 thoughts on “Stutter Stepping into Spring

  1. Isn’t it funny how, when you travel a particular route often enough, you memorize problematic puddles? Heheh

    Enjoy the shifting seasons. And, no, I don’t think one can have too much jam. At the very least, it’s trade bait for someone who has others kinds of potentially too muchness.

  2. There are wild hazelnut trees about six feet from my back gate and every year I manage to get the nuts from the very ends of the branches, presumably the squirrels can’t reach those ones before they fall off the branch!

  3. Love to have a Dashwood sighting. 🙂

    I started getting the weeds out of the garden bed yesterday. Made it about 1/4 of the way through. I’m excited to see my borage plants almost blooming – the bees are excited too. Lots of violets in my yard – I don’t have actual “grass” – so I enjoy the carpet of white and purple blooms. And the bee balm I planted last year is coming up so that makes me happy too.

    1. The Dashwoods are so happy it’s spring Laila! It sounds like spring is nice and far along in your area. I love violets too. I let them go wild underneath the apple trees in the front yard. Did you know they are edible–flowers and leaves? I like to add a few to spring salads now and then. They are supposed to have a nutty flavor but I never can really tell with all the other veg in my salad. But they are super nutritious, high in vitamins A, C and E. Have fun weeding the rest of the garden bed!

  4. It’s like that here too—a couple of weeks ago we were sitting in the sunshine all day to work, then last week it was back to full winter coats, and now it’s back to spring again today. But the trees here aren’t as far along as yours—we have walnuts, apricots, an apple tree and a fig tree, and they’re all either bare or only just beginning to bud. The Dashwoods look well 🙂

    1. The Dashwoods are fat and shiny and feeling good right now and when I let them out they don’t even stop to see if I have a treat but just beeline up the steps from their garden into the main one. Oh I envy you the apricot tree! Maybe some brilliant plant breeder will manage to come up with a cold hardy apricot one day. I hope you are getting more warm days than cold ones!

  5. I think my girls ate all my pea shoots (I forgot they were unprotected…) so I am going to replant today and put up chicken fencing all around my veggie and herb beds so the girls can roam a little this summer. They seem to leave ornamentals alone and mostly just hunt for green shoots and bugs, so I’m hoping they can get out for an hour or two most days — they love it so much! We have been digging a trench to run electricity to our new outdoor sauna site, and the girls loved hunting through the freshly dug out dirt for long worms — delicious! The daffodils are in full bloom, hyacinth are starting, and my daphne is scenting the whole back deck area. We are mulching several dry shade areas that never get any growth and turning them into shady sitting areas (I do have a couple dry shade areas in the front that I am slowly rehabbing with dry-shade-friendly plants, including many natives). So many things to do this time of year! I think I have narrowed down what veggies we are planting (including a luffa gourd!) and now we’re just waiting for things to get just a bit warmer. I always want to plant too early. Enjoy planning and blooming!

    1. Oh no! At least it is still early enough the replanted peas will be fine. The sauna you are installing sounds divine. Let me know how your luffa does, I’ve thought about trying one but I’m not sure where I’d put it because I don’t know how much space it needs. I love all your plans! have fun!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: