Don’t let those lovely calendar images of spring fool you. The gorgeous photos of tulips, daffodils, dogwoods, and any other flowering plant or tree may last all month in the picture hanging on your wall. But you better hurry outside to see them before they rudely disappear.
That’s Spring in a nutshell. It can be as fickle as the weather because the weather, especially in the age of rapid climate change, affects when things bloom and for how long. Throw in a heavy frost or two, and the blossoms’ purposes are lost until next year.
I don’t mean to be sounding doom and gloom. After the long, dark, and in many places, cold and snowy winter, we celebrate Spring’s arrival. But we need to get out and enjoy it while we can. We can easily take the many blooms and fragrances for granted until they are gone.
I’m as guilty of that as anyone. The older I get, the colder I get. Consequently, I avoid being outside too long on blustery, chilly days. I know. My age is showing.
I’ll admit that I’m a fair-weather kind of guy. I need the sun to keep me warm no matter how many layers of clothing I wear. Still, I love taking in the rapidly changing spring scenes. The leaves start to unfurl once the blossoms fade. Depending on the species and the weather, it is not long until the plant or tree leaves are in their fullness. As the leaves mature on some plants and trees, they darken into a rich green.
We are fortunate here in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. The first spring blossoms show themselves in the forests in late winter. Witch Hazel blooms can easily be overlooked. The white snowdrop petals are easier to see against the burnished leaf litter.
This year, February and March traded their weather. Varieties of daffodils and crocuses bloomed early and stayed late. As Spring progressed and the weather cooled, they became the exception. Pockets of the Glory of the Snow, Spring Beauties, Bloodroot, and Coltsfoot soon joined them.
The Redbud trees were gorgeous unless back-to-back freezes nipped their pretty pink blossoms. The impatient leaves soon pushed the petals to carpet the ground. Even the maples were in a hurry to begin their chlorophyll duties.
Soon neighborhoods, roadsides, and forests were ablaze with color in April. The azaleas, rhododendrons, Virginia Bluebells, tulips, wild geraniums, and poppies put on a show. The pollinators buzzed high and low.
So, here we are in May. The dogwood blossoms have faded, while their leaves stand ready, awaiting touches of sunshine and rain. They need both.
Together let’s pledge to get out and enjoy whatever is blooming in our neck of the woods. If we wait too long, we’ll only have the calendars to remind us of what we missed.
© Bruce Stambaugh 2023
You must be logged in to post a comment.