I've got Spring Fever. I and a few thousand of my closest Midwestern friends.
The high temperature for today was 67°F and if that isn't impressive enough, consider that the low just three days ago was 8°F. Two days later, the temperature at 11:00 PM was 58°F. And next week, we very well could have a full-blown snowstorm. That's March for you.
When we have a warm day like today, after weeks of winter, you'll find any excuse to go outside and stay there. If you're a gardener, you don't need a better invitation to find something to do in the gardens. There's plenty needing done around here and I was glad to get started on it.
Over the course of the afternoon, here's what I did:
- Cleaned the leaves out of the flower beds on the east and west sides of the house.
- Pruned the dead "winter interest" from the Astilbe, Hellebores, Echinacea, Japanese Painted Fern, Plumbago, and Sedum.
- Swept up the sunflower seed shells that were all over the patio from the two bird feeders hanging from the pergola.
The photo on the left was taken today, after I'd cleaned things up. The one on the right was taken in June 2007 (and was featured in the August 2008 issue of Old House Journal magazine). I'm looking forward to seeing it look like that again in about three months. Patience!
More tasks completed were:
- Fluffed up the mulch in the beds that had gotten compacted from the snows of winter.
- Cleaned the dead plants out of the flower boxes on the front porch railing and the large planter on the front porch.
- Hung the porch swing back up.
- Repotted the Goldfish plant (Nematanthus gregarius) - much easier to do outside, because I'm very messy!
As I was working in and around the gardens, I noticed the many signs of spring that at first glance aren't obvious. The Sedums are well on their way. The Hellebores have several thick shoots of new growth, and the Arum italicum are poking their heads out of the ground.
The fall-blooming crocus are coming up at the base of the Sweet Gum tree, and will have nice grass-like foliage until summer, when they will go dormant. In the fall, there won't be new foliage, but there will be fragile, pale lavender blooms. Strange plant, that.
It was a wonderful day spent outside working, but it didn't seem like work, really. Things needed to be done and it looked much better when I was finished, but all of that took a back seat to the joy of being able to be outside without a coat and breathe in the fresh, earthy scent of spring, while listening to the nuthatches and other birds singing praises.
Oh, I almost forgot! Look what I saw today on the Witch Hazel (Hamamelis vernalis):
When it's in full bloom, I'll post a photo of the entire shrub in all its glory.