27 March 2008

Spring limps slowly towards Nova Scotia



Contrary to the suspicions of those of us who don't lean towards the current provincial government, spring in my fair province hasn't been cut due to budgetary restraints. It's just taking its own sweet time to reach us. Maybe it decided to linger longer in the gardens of some of my blogging friends and comrades, painting their gardens in swaths of freshest green, spangling flowers here and there in lovely flourishes. I know that spring, like a shy maiden, has been playing coy with Layanee, who also is longing for the season to really begin; with Dirty Knees, who claims to be jealous because some of our southerly neighbours are bragging of daffodils while DK can only post photos of last year's flowers due to snow still covering the garden; John at WiseAcre Gardens is experiencing similar snowy gardens, since winter doesn't seem to realize that its best before date has long passed, and so should it.


I sympathize, truly I do. But there is hope that spring is trying to put in an appearance here. Look what I found a couple of days ago (Easter Monday, to be exact); these brave little double Galanthus are scarcely an inch tall but already opening their bundles of delightful joy to the sun. When the sun manages to bludgeon its way through the clouds, that is.

In looking back through previous years, the snowdrops' emergence is right on schedule--that is, in spots where there's no snow. A stroll around our place shows the yard and garden at its very worst, with perennial stalks needing to be cut down and removed to the compost heap, great patches of snow still lingering a foot or more deep in some spots, and the grassy parts of the yard as frost-heaved and hillocky as to resemble a miniature version of Gros Morne. The pond is still full of ice, so no frogs are tuning up their banjos just yet, but the redwing males are calling for females to come-and-greet, come-and-greet, from their sentinel positions on cattail stalks. Yesterday I watched skeins of Canada geese winging their way in from the north and landing in the fields and dykelands around the Habitant river in Canning. To some they may be a nuisance, but they're one of my definite signs of spring's return. In the autumn, their cries sound mournful--in spring, they sound jubilant, even while landing in a snow squall!


We're still weeks from the arrival of the hummingbirds, but in about three weeks time I'll start putting out the feeders in case any early arrivals get blown in by the gentle spring zephyrs that blast in off the mighty Fundy, bless its gorgeous but cold heart. That's part of the reason for our cold springs, being as we have these huge bodies of water almost completely circling our province. Were it not for the isthmus of Chignecto that connects us to New Brunswick, we'd be another island province.

One of the beauties of keeping a blog over several years is that I can quickly find out what was happening at this time in previous years. We have had more snow this winter than last, and I don't think that's a bad thing--except I worry for those areas of Canada and the US that got way more than usual and are subject to flooding. Here's hoping that the snow leaves gradually--I know that you're all impatient for spring, as am I, but we'd like it to gently unfurl, not wash everything away in a torrent of meltwater and rain.

Hope does spring eternal, just like the seasons, in the gardener's heart. Little things like the less-tarnishe plumage of the goldfinches, the profuse shedding of my hairy mudball horse, the swelling of twig buds and the brightening of willow bark, all remind me that the seasons will change, even if slowly. And last night, leaving yoga class in Kingsport, I caught a scent on the air that I hadn't smelled in many months. You all know that scent--the indescribably sweet, (to gardeners) rich, inviting fragrance of the land warming up.

It's coming, friends. Just three months ago, we were recuperating from the indulgences of Christmas. In another three months, we'll be grumbling about too many weeds, hot sunny days, an excess of garden to-dos...but we'll be grinning while we do this, won't we? And long before that, we'll feel the reality of spring energy all around us.

Hang in there, fellow gardeners. We'll make it.

28 comments:

  1. Jodi, Like reading a letter from a far away friend, you've captured the longings for spring and I can empathize with you. You truly are a talented writer! What a joy to read your posts.

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  2. Spring is just around the corner. The trouble is the corner is 400 miles away. I'm packing up this week-end and going to go meet it.

    I love hummers but don't use feeders since we tend to forget them. My approach is to plant a huge bed of Bee Balm surrounding a bench. By the time it blooms I've reached the point I need to take a break from gardening work and just sit back and enjoy them.

    I recommed anyone with the space to do the same. The hummers put on a real show. Ever watch their U shaped courting flights? They will fly 30 or more feet high dive down and then back up. Males set up territories defending a prime food source. They can often be seen perched on tree branches nearby and will even buzz our cats when they approach the Bee Balm bed.

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  3. The last few days I've been visiting any and all blogs near the equator! With the "official" arrival of spring our weather has taken a nasty turn. The winds snapped one of the supports on our cloche. And last night when I left work the neighborhood was blanketed in WHITE! The temps were at freezing.

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  4. Your first sentence gave me a good laugh - thank goodness I didn't have a mouthful of coffee when I read it!

    It seems eastern Canada was hit especially hard this winter. Even we had the most snow we've seen in more than twenty years. Thankfully it did melt off gradually so there were no issues with flooding.

    Hang in there and keep enjoying those snowdrops!

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  5. You accurately discribe the current mood in many northern gardeners. My last post was of flowers from spring past and today I am thinking of posting the pictures taken at the Garfield Conservatory's spring show.
    It was not just the flowers that drew us in it was, as you say, that smell of sun warmed earth and
    floral breezes. It was hard to leave and return to the reality of Chicago's weather.
    Right now snow is falling in big flakes on a wet gray day with the temperatures not leaving the 30's.
    I feel like visiting the Mississippi Delta. Have you noticed any bloggers from that region?

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  6. I'm looking forward to photos of your "bundles of delightful joy" when they finally fully open. It's snowing here, again. We're way behind schedule here, but you're right, in a couple of months we'll be complaining about the heat.

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  7. Hi there Jodi, warm sunny days in the garden are getting close :-D

    We've had a lovely warm sunny day today after the cold ones of late. I meant to get some photos as it is all change again overnight. We are predicted to be getting hit with snow once again. Ah... this weather lark!!

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  8. We've been toying with spring all March. the temperatures have been up as high as 25°C and then plunged back down to 0°. the last week has seen bright sunny days, but with cold winds sweeping down from the mountains. And today it's cold, grey and rainy. roll on April!

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  9. I spent just over six years living in Michigan - and I remember never thinking that spring would come (and oddly enough, it always did). Now - firmly rooted in the south - I just can't imagine not having brocolli and romaine lettuce ready for harvest in mid-winter, and east coast migratory birds floating by, and perhaps resting for a bit, each early spring. I'm always so envious of you northern gardeners in the heat of the summer - you have grass that you want to walk barefoot in (fire ants? what fire ants?) and everything looks so lush in August - but if I was still in the north, this time of year, I'd surely sucuumb to drinking a bottle of something every night and moping in the most unattractive manner. I'd be booted for sure.

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  10. In response to Mr. WiseAcre, I started a monarda bed of 6 plants, and already I see they've begun to spread as see new leaves emerging; the hummers are already in KS, so one state away. Yesterday, Jodi, I was outside in 60 degree weather moving 5 plants--today its windy, sprinkling, and in the 30s. Not the same thing, but it gave me the chance to poke my finger down and discover so much is just under the surface, waiting for one warm week. What am I saying? I like Canada, but I also like zone 5a.

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  11. Spring does take its own sweet time to reach your Nova Scotian garden, Jodi. But just remember, you'll soon be enjoying warm, comfortable summer days while we're cooking here in Austin. I'll be looking for relief in northern blogs then, as you look to southern blogs for relief now.

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  12. Woo hoo Jodi - snowdrops at last! I find there's nothing quite as exciting or as hopeful as those first few white buds fighting their way through.

    I've managed a whole day outside today - I have the sunburned face (or it could be wind tanned) to prove it ;) Cats were helping, daffodils to tiptoe through, shallots planted. Sheer bliss.

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  13. I'm going to hold you to it, friend. :) Your tender blooms that are peeking through give me hope.

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  14. Jodi, the approach of spring has got me checking my notes from last year too. I think it must be like pinching ourselves to make sure it's real - can I believe it's spring yet? ok, how about now?!

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  15. Indeed, limping painfully, Jodi. It's raining snow here at moment. Last late March, temps hit in the 80s ~ go figure! I have posts on my blog to prove it. Though teeny-tiny, I see signs ... swelling buds, snoopy noses poking through the brown earth ... all is well.

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  16. Jodi: I was thinking of Novia Scotia today while driving and smiled because I now know someone there in that wild and windy area! It brought to mind your geography post and the beautiful bay by your side! Anyway, thanks for that link and spring continues to play 'coy' but the signs are unmistakable and, you are right, in three months time we will be whining about something! Probably a sore back! I, for one, can't wait!

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  17. Spring is limping into Nova Scotia and it is weeping its way through our area. Rain again today and more for tomorrow. It was warm enough that I put the houseplants outside for a drink of good ole rain water. They are all throwing up their fronds and shouting Halleluia.

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  18. The migratory gold finches just left us here in Baton Rouge. I hope they come your way soon!

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  19. I was thrilled for the chance to work outside yesterday. It may be a while before I get the opportunity again since there is so much rain in the forecast for the next 10 days. I'm afraid the days will be dull and gray.

    Thanks for the reminder about the humming birds. I need to check and see when I should put out my feeders.

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  20. Hi Jodi, while you are waiting for spring, I'll suggest another project for you. I was planning on doing something similar to your Geo Project but on Official Floral Emblems instead. Unfortunately I'm running out of time, (middle of seeding, transplanting, etc). I have posted about Saskatchewan's Bloom to start the ball rolling. I know there must be many fascinating 'official' flowers, for us to learn about. Ours is here,
    http://sherwoodgreenhouses.squarespace.com/journal/2008/3/28/western-red-lily.html

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  21. Jodi, Beautiful post. Nature is bigger than the folly we enteertain (like budget issues and other human issues). Very poetic, sings to the heart.

    Sean

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  22. Lovely post, Jodi. I , too, am longing for that elusive Spring which never seems to arrive in Chicago either. Suddenly, it's May and summer.

    BTW, I was listed as a " Blog of Note " yesterday and have been getting a tremendous amount of visitors. I'm sure you know what that's like : )

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  23. Jodi, Wonderful post, as always. I am curious--did you take the picture of the hummingbirds yourself? That is my goal for the summer--to get one good picture of them at my feeder.
    I have been catching up on your posts today and want to thank you for all the great suggestions for improving one's blogs. As a newcomer to this world of blogging, they were very helpful.

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  24. Jodi, it seems that my comments are not getting through. I don't even remember what was said in this one, very witty I'm sure, but it was early this morning. Oh, now I remember, I have finished your book and know that your garden will be wonderful this summer, there are photos to prove it!
    Frances at Faire Garden

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  25. Hi Jodi. Spring is coming up all over down here in Alabama, and the nice, soft rains we're having are greening up the earth quite nicely. We pray the rains stay for some time and help diminish the effects of the drought we've been under. Spring will be there before you know it! Debi @ GHT

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  26. Isn't it amazing how a little good weather can raise your spirits? We had a bit more snow today, but for some reason, it just didn't seem like the mother nature had her heart in the storm.

    In the afternoon, I saw two robins, on my mailbox post, taking turns diving into the snow for worms. Do they smell them or what? Guess the ground has started to thaw.

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  27. Every time I reach about this point on your blog, I am faced with Toby Soprano's photo, who has the most incredibly manic expression on his sweet face that I always just laugh, then promptly lose my train of thought! Lovely post. Very provocative and visual.
    Brenda

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  28. The photograph of the lovely green poking through is one of my most favoritest things in the wonderful universe. It's so fun to walk the yard and spot those!

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