Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Garden of Time: Is There Life on March?

        Is March the most changeable month of the year? 
Is it winter, or is it spring? Is it the month when things are growing? Or the month when it's still snowing? Wheels are turning? Sunsets burning? Will we see bulbs blooming? Or plows prowling? Snow blowing? Wind howling? 
             The top photo was taken earlier this month at the start of one our frequent snow events, before the garden began filling up with snow. I don't know if bulbs, ground cover plants like the Vinca Minor, or anything else is breaking earth, greening up, or growing new leaves, because if they are, they are doing it beneath the layers of snow or ices, accumulating or melting back over the last three weekends.   
            For color we have relied on the feathered flowers of the air, particularly the sharp contrast of red male cardinals against the monochrome white snow days. The second photo down, taken roughly a week ago is an example of the redbird phenomenon. 
             What about other Marches? Last year we were pretty much snow free. The red-tailed hawk, in the third photo, was setting up show in the Quincy shoreline salt marsh, looking for lunch in the increasingly active vernal life of birds, bugs, rodents, squirrels and rabbits. I found the hawk there for weeks. At home in the crocuses, white and violet, were breaking ground, along with the Lenten Rose (Helleborus), shown in the next three photos. 

Two years ago, I took no photos of the garden at all in this putative first month of spring, as I was tired of looking at the snow cover which endured through all of February and March, until the last few days. The photo below the violet crocuses, shows the back garden as it appeared in the first few days of April. Bleak, brown, shorn, severe, with nothing showing of new green. It looked spared down for winter; or like a teenaged boy with a bad haircut.
              The photo beneath that one, taken that same year, shows the first signs of green returning from the earth. Tulips and vinca emerging from the earth. I was clearly desperate to take a photo of something. We were a week or two into April. 
             The year before that, March of 2014, we were visited with enough snow to cool my enthusiasm for signs of spring. I include one photo from March of that year, though not taken in the garden. 
            It was taken on the last day of the month in the sculptural gardens of Paris, actually in the Place de la Concorde. No flowers in this Place, though we found quite a few in the nearby public gardens, but I think a few of the goddesses depicted in this fountain sculpture are standing in for the bounties of nature.