Posted by: A Part of the Solution | April 6, 2010

Early Spring

We’re having an early spring. Recent temperatures have been more than twenty-five degrees above average. The rainfall has been scarce to non-existent over the past couple of weeks. My admonition to everyone arriving here to bring boots because of the mud is feeling sillier to say each time. We have spring, and it’s early; but it’s not the early spring we really want.

Don’t get me wrong. I love spring. I love having it right now; instead of having to be mature and using my delayed gratification skills to wait until the proper moment to receive the long-awaited annual pleasure of this plant sprouting and that flower opening. I have it all. I have it all at once. But there’s a down side to all this early spring: and possibly more than one.

For one thing, all my gorgeous daffodils are burning off quickly. They’re not supposed to have day after day of full sun and temperatures well over seventy. It’s too hard on them. Their constitutions have evolved to handle temperatures from freezing up into the fifties (and maybe the sixties if it’s cloudy or wet).

In the right weather, the daffodils will last for weeks. But in this weather, they’re as fragile as irises and don’t have more than a couple of days for their flowering lifespan. What a pity. I love daffodils and never grow tired of looking at them.

I’m watching the japonica quince burst into bloom. It’s such a rapid process it’s almost visible to the naked, casual eye. Yet there are very few bees about at this time of the season. They seem to know it’s still early to be out and about–irrespective of the recent high temperatures.

I mind this. I mind it very much. I mind it because japonica quince have the most lovely flavor when they’re cooked or processed by other means. I make jellies and tarts and liqueurs and preserves of these charming by-products of the old fashioned landscaping standard (they’re grown for their four season interest and not for their small, tannic fruits). But if there aren’t any bees out doing their duty, I won’t see very many of those perfumed golden apple cousins.

The weeds, less dependent on water than most of the domesticated plants in my borders, are having a field day. They’re getting bigger by the minute. They’re sending up sprouts all the time. They’re determined to win out by volume alone. I feel that I am right to fear them and their contempt for the mild drought we’re having. They will stop at nothing. Their goal is world domination. And they have an indisputable edge in this unseasonable early spring we’re experiencing.

The forecast calls for rain and thunderstorms on Thursday. If it’s at all severe, I’ll lose eighty percent of my daffodils right then. If we don’t get the rain, I’ll lose the daffodils Friday or Saturday as they wither under the extreme sun exposure. Early spring only sounds good. Pray for rain.


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