About two weeks to go before the vernal equinox though it seems for most of us this has been a winter that never was. I am sitting in a tank top today on a beautiful 70’s filled afternoon – the field outside my office window is still wet from the rain that deluged a week ago, and now robins, cardinals and finches are frolicking in that marshy spot. The pear tree has turned the corner on its showy display and the oak tree is now littering the yard with fussy cast-offs. Even without a cold, deep slumber the world awakes and every delicate wildflower seems drenched in pigment. Of course, without a hard frost there also comes an earlier arrival of the unwanted inhabitants of the balmier season – bugs. Though I have already caught a welcomed denizen of the garden, a ladybug travelling the young lettuce leaves hunting for its dinner I have also swatted a few flies.
I am overjoyed by this quick start to the growing season, though tucked away is the fear of a frost, I have actually harvested my first four asparagus stems from a now, three year old bed. A first, as this is the first year that I will take any asparagus; I wish I knew last year that their dark red berries were edible for I had plenty of them. Eight more spears have pushed the amended soil that covers them up over to reveal purplish heads – it is just a matter of a week or so, I will hopefully be serving asparagus every which way.
I feel like one of those Emperor penguins who protect their eggs and chicks from the elements giving up all sense of reason for themselves. I am obsessed with weather forecasts, and I’m at the ready to lay a trap, horse blanket even my down comforter over anyone who needs protecting. I am keeping the beds where seeds lay hidden damp, and check thrice times daily for signs of life. Will my poppies germinate, flower and produce a seedpod for me to harvest? The more tropically inclined pineapple sage has made it through the winter under a layer of crumbled bark and hay, and has started poking leaves out pegging to be rescued from the avalanche of mulch I laid upon it last October. Concerned that a sneaky frost plots to foil us I beg it waits just a bit longer. Unlike myself sleeveless full of the premature, springtime snap!