Coaxing out Spring

We are having a mild winter in the Twin Cities thus far. The snow cover held off until November which helps make the season seem shorter. Unlike the winter of 2010-2011, there have been no protracted cold spells or a seasonal record-setting snow.

I am ready for Spring’s calendar arrive tomorrow, but like many others in this region, Spring’s timidness this year puzzles me. It reminds me of a cat that is afraid of visitors and streaks across the room to find a hiding place. After several hours and some coaxing, the cat finally appears and finds a new lap to nap on while getting a belly rub.

Last year spoiled everyone in my area. We had a stretch of ten days that recorded or tied record highs in eight of them. Yesterday’s high temperature of 29°F was 50°F colder than last year’s record high of 79°F. The latest weather quirk has been threats of blizzards or heavy snow on Sunday night. This week was no exception, and there are rumors that next Sunday night may bring in near-blizzard conditions to southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa. Take solace in the fact that weather forecasters have been predicting snowfall amounts higher than what actually falls. Perhaps that trend will also continue. There is still 6″ of snow cover here. Easter egg hunts in snowdrifts might be expected next weekend.

My forsythia cutting started dropping flowers last Wednesday. I think it bloomed for over two weeks. To help break up the monotony of snow and grit, I bought a small orchid. Orchids are not expensive and even if I am unsuccessful at rejuvenating it after it goes dormant, I can get another.

The snow blanket is also keeping me from getting the gardens ready for spring. I have my dahlias started in plastic coffee cans to try extending the bloom season. The gladiolus and Asian lily bulbs destroyed by chipmunks and squirrels last year have replacements at the ready. The local garden centers do not have tulip bulbs yet. I’m going to try a Gloriosa lily variety this year that Lucy liked. I purchased all the usual annual seeds and they are waiting to go into seed starter containers: scarlet flax, borage, bluebonnet, sunflower and morning glory. This year’s seed experiments will include cypress vine and castor bean. Both plants are critter-proof because they are bitter and have emetic and laxative properties. This could lead to some “clean up in aisle one” moments. I have a fenced-in back yard and there are no children in the neighborhood under age 12.

I am hoping for a decent growing season this year. Lucy enjoyed gardening. I think the reason she enjoyed it so much was looking at the colors and life, and watching the birds and butterflies visit. We figured out how to optimize our gardening effort, which gave us more time to enjoy the result. Like last year, there will be twice as much gardening work for me. Unlike last year, Lucy is not here to encourage me. I’ll get it done though. Of course, if anyone wants to help, I’d appreciate it.

Give your loved ones a meaningful hug and let them know you love them. Try to smile today. If you’ll excuse me, I have to find a way to coax Spring out from behind the dryer.

This year's orchid

This year’s orchid

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