Monday, April 6, 2015

Loosen up, earth. Liven up. Listen up: This is your Inner Spring talking

           The solstice went by without a flicker of local interest. It took until last week, a little rain, a few warmer days, to get the big melt going.
            Suddenly last week, as if the curtain went down and up again for the big scene change, the snow disappeared from the places where I look for first shoots, crocus country and the like.  Twenty-four hours later the day arrived when I could see if the tool shed was accessible, if I would manage to wiggle a rake out of the tangled mass within, see if leaf bags were in residence, and determine what tools could be found.
            Are you ready for some gardening?
            I waited for the cheerleaders to rush out onto the field. The band to play. The network to cut to another commercial.
            It wasn't if I seriously doubted that this moment would arrive some time or another, but some analysts were already pointing to June 1 as the likely final snow disappearance day. That may be true in the White Mountains.
            In the coastal quarters where most of us live, at low elevation, where the serious question was 'where to put the snow,' not where to ski on it, it took remarkably modest drizzles and merely near-normal early spring temps to make the last couple of feet go away. I still have patches in the backyard. Some people still have piles on their curb or behind the driveway or any other place they piled it up, but as of yesterday afternoon I declared the opening of the 'rake off the old leaves and unassorted litter and see what we've got where we're supposed to getting something' season.
            Some crocuses emerged in the skinny green shoot stage once I pulled off a layer of awfully flattened, deliriously wet and refrigerator-cold brown leaves. These produce the smallest of crocus blooms even in the best of times, still I'm hopeful for some color in a day or two. Some other shoots were working their leading edges halfway through a cake of frozen slush behind the boxwood hedge. I removed the slush and got rid of the dead leaves there; the shoots had arrowed through the heart of some of these. But I think these guys want to be tulips, so it will still be weeks before we see any color from them.
            On Saturday, with the sun shining but the wind whipping, I searched out another target area for crocuses closer to the house foundation. Some of these were already opening, but you would never know it because of the mass of dry ornamental grasses (maiden grass) crushed by yards of snow that tented down to the ground, wholly obscuring the blooming site. I don't  know how these little bulbs found the space, air, light or gumption to turn purple (top photo) , but their color was already showing.
            I searched some of the new crocus and tulip plantings in the back garden, too, and found shoots concealed by sticks, stems and leafage in a few close together spots where Sonya and I had planted them last fall. I removed the leaves and other coverings, including a significant brick (as in 'what was that doing there?') .
            Today, Easter, I didn't have much chance to check on their progress. I'm not expecting miracles yet... But one of these days, not too far away, I'm looking forward to some serious color.