Monday, March 19, 2012

A Soft Spring in the Shenandoah Valley

“Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.”  ~Rainer Maria RilkeLetters of Rainer Maria Rilke
This normally precarious, wildly unsettled month is unbelievably mild.   Crocus, Daffodils,hyacinths,  early tulips…are in full flower with the promise of more blooms on the way.  A cloud of blossoms envelop the apricot tree, the pears up by the old red barn are snowy white, the peach is pink…apples will be in flower next.  Our spirits are so buoyed we planted two new heritage apple trees, one peach, and a sour cherry.  If the frost holds off, we’ll have loads of fruit this year to can, freeze, make into jam and fruit butters.  Most of last year’s crop froze.
I’m already hard at work clearing away the vegetable garden,  spreading compost, planting early vegetable seeds….   The flower beds need cleaning of all the overwintering weeds so I’m busying myself in them, pruning roses, and generally tidying everything.  I’ve ordered new herbs and perennials that attract butterflies and hummingbirds.  Some of the varieties I wanted are already sold out.  
It’s only March 19th and I’m scrambling around like a demented bunny to keep up with the advancing season.  And the extended forecast shows more of the same unusually balmy weather.
All of a sudden it’s full-blown, bursting out all over, spring– like mid-late April, not March.  Will the weather hold, or will we be hit with a freeze?
I’m savoring all the beauty while wondering if it will suddenly be snatched away.  It’s mighty early to hope frost will pass us by, but last fall I found a solid brown woolly bear caterpillar with no black markings at all which means an unbelievably mild winter.  And thus it has been.  I’m putting my trust in the woolly bear as my prognosticator.   So much for Phil the Groundhog.
“Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer.”  ~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth
“Hoe while it is spring, and enjoy the best anticipations.  It is not much matter if things do not turn out well.”  ~Charles Dudley Warner
But I really hope they do.

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