Spring arrived last week. There it was right in front of me, the thermometer was roaring to the top and everyone was thrilled by the high numbers. Records keep breaking and coats were thrown aside as ridiculously overcautious and we embraced the sun. Surely that weak, orange sun was the reason things were so warm.
The neighborhood was bustling. Nearly everybody had a job as garages were swept and litter was cleared and the last of the holiday decorations were secured. It sure looked good. My brother in Law even pulled out the leaf blower and cleared all the riff-raff which had blown in while our backs were turned. Back into the woods it went, and a quick round with the lawnmower has everything returned to that bland, uniform, suburban look which all my neighbors seem to love.
The last three months have been filled with erratic ups and downs, but the ups are all we care about. I have snowdrops sprouting and in full bloom outside and it’s the middle of January and that must be good.
But in spite of the early sprouts and premature color something still feels wrong. The sun keeps claiming it’s perfect, and he deserves all the credit for this unusual warmth but most everyone else can see it’s near the lowest point of its year. I wish my plants would check this out, but no they just keep fixating on these temperature numbers. Who cares about tomorrow.
Oh well. When it gets cold I’ll just shelter in place and ride it out. As usual the weather will take out the most vulnerable and either kill them outright or set them back for a few years, but it happens and in spite of warnings the plants never learn.
I’ll protect my favorites though. Some plants just agree with everything I do and even if I’m the most incompetent gardener they always make me either feel good or look like I’m winning. Right now with colder weather and snow briefly returning it’s the winter garden that’s got all the good stuff.
My winter garden in the garage is a nice escape from the real world. Under the fluorescent shop lights I have a few plants pretending they’re not part of this Pennsylvania garden and also a few that are just too tender to make it on their own. This year’s wunderkind is the pot of galanthus seedlings I have coming up. A friend gave me the seed last winter and although a few sprouted then, the bulk have waited until now to start coming up. Realistically they would be better off in the garden, but here I can admire them endlessly and imagine the hundreds of blooms which are sure to follow… in three or four years… assuming I don’t kill them… just like I’ve killed all the others…
I’ve been off my seed-starting kick for a few years now but stuff like this is still irresistible. There’s so much variability in these seed grown bulbs that I’m excited just thinking about what could be. I guess that’s what optimism looks like when the nights are still so long, since there’s still bound to be a three year wait at least. In the meantime three years can pass quickly, and three years ago I started some narcissus seed, and three years later I have a bloom!
Non-hardy daffodils growing under lights is practically a gateway drug to greenhouse thoughts, so fortunately I don’t have much access to more seed but in these unsettled times you never know. An offer for more seeds would be much better news than what usually shows up.
In the meantime this winter could end up anywhere. History shows that these fake warmups always end up badly but maybe I should just hide out in the winter garden and hope for the best. Maybe this time we’ll only get the tornado rather than the tornado, hail and lightning storm.