The absurdly warm weather has encouraged flora and fauna to go into springtime mode. In my yard at the moment, the following plants are blooming:
- Crocuses — lavender, deep purple, and bright yellow ones
- Snowdrops — these were the first flowers of the year to open
- January Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) — a lovely shrub with yellow flowers that is often mistaken for forsythia. The Jasmine blooms much earlier, and despite its name, the flowers are not fragrant.
- Flowering apricots (Prunus mume) — In addition to my two Peggy Clarkes, I have a pale pink-blooming one with a sweet fragrance that lacks the cinnamon undernote of the Peggys.
- Lenten Rose (Hellebore spp.) — It’s not native, but it mostly isn’t eaten by deer (beyond a few spiteful bites), and the purple-green flowers are lovely.
- Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
- Hazelnut (Corylus americana)
- Red Maple (Acer rubrum)
After another weekend of hard work, the spring vegetable garden is planted. This is the earliest I’ve managed to pull this off in years, thanks to the enthusiastic help of Wonder Spouse, the crazy warm spell, and our disturbingly dry soils. As of today, the following veggie seeds are in the ground meditating on germination:
- Sugar Ann Snap Peas
- Red Ace Beets
- Sugarsnax Carrot
- Early Nelson Carrot
- Red Summer Crisp Lettuce
- Red Oakleaf Lettuce
- Smoothleaf Emu Spinach
Three other greens will be sown in the greenhouse as soon as the Sweet Alyssums I sowed yesterday germinate, so that I can move them off the germination mat. I’ll be adding some sweet yellow onion plants to the spring beds as soon as they arrive in the mail.
The Red-Shouldered Hawks have been keeping a low profile over the last week, but now it is evident that they are sitting on eggs. Last year, they raised four chicks, but we have no way of knowing how many eggs are currently being nurtured. Mrs. Hawk stays on the nest almost all the time. Mr. Hawk spells her for brief periods, when she soars across the floodplain to stretch her wings. I’ve seen Mr. Hawk bring his partner a meal on the nest, so that she can stay on the eggs.
Now the waiting begins — to see what flowers open next, to see which seeds germinate first, and to learn how long before the hawks begin feeding hatchlings.
While we’re all waiting, please commence your most effective rain dances. It is scary-dry out there.