On March 12th the very first bloom appeared in the garden; a small iris reticulata, or Dutch iris, showed off its blue flower. The next day several more opened up as well as some early crocuses. Soon there were several pools of bright blue amid an otherwise still bleak landscape.
As winter drew to a close the only thing that kept insanity at bay were visits to various flower shows. Two great new gardening friends brought me along on trips to orchid shows and orchid growers. Never one to leave empty handed, I soon found myself with a few more moth orchids. When the very first slipper orchid in my collection bloomed, I just had to get some more of those as well.
Then a visit to the mall brought me face to face with some inexpensive miniature moth orchids and I scooped up three. The Spouse wonders about this addiction to orchids and questions why I have to have more. What can I say; a plant which blooms so abundantly with such beautiful colors and in such exquisite shapes in dead of winter deserves a spot in every household.
The weather is improving and now buds are visibly swelling on trees and shrubs. Red maples show nearly glowing branches as the red flower clusters are getting ready to unfold. Willows have a yellow haze along their branches before leaves appear and shrubs are starting to sport a subtle green look. Grass is greening up again and weeds are getting a head start before everything else. After months of blah winter colors, with weather warming up, flowers will cover trees and shrubs and our world will once more become truly colorful.
Now I find myself walking through the garden again after coming home from work. The red stems of peonies are pushing up hard through the soil. Pale yellow crocuses open up, contrasting against the blue ones or the white ones, pulling your eye down to nearly ground level. The lilies are starting to send out shoots, pushing up a dome of crusted soil in a race towards light and warmth. Soon the flock of eleven cardinals, which called my garden home this winter, will disband. Males will become territorial again and fight for the female’s attention. For now they still come to the feeder, but already squabbles are starting to break out among them. Other birds not seen all winter are back, and everywhere the song of birds can be heard again. One evening I even heard the sound of peepers from a nearby pond. These tiny frogs are just about the first to reappear, making their presence known by their song in a quest to find a mate.
This is a magical time of year with every day to be enjoyed. The gazebo is getting readied for another season of enjoyment. Soon I will be outside again, doing what I do best, playing “in the dirt”. Let the gardening season commence!