Saturday, January 25, 2014

It Might As Well Be Spring - Jan. 23, 2014

Tomatillo Husk with seeds intact
Garden Sorrel
  A couple days ago, I was out in the garden, mowing and starting to kill more lawn with cardboard for increased veggie garden space.  I was looking around at the remains of last year's garden, which still needs to be cleaned up.  We had a very busy fall.  I was pleased to see the garden sorrel fairing well, a few chard plants enduring, some overwintering cabbage heads not completely mollusk eaten.  I marveled at the skeletonized tomatillo husks all over the ground, and the few runner bean pods that missed the harvest.  The rhubarb was starting to poke its shoots up a little, and then I said to myself, "WAIT, IT'S ONLY JANUARY!"  We have had a few unseasonably warm days here in Western Washington, with hard freezes at night.  I have woken up to find frost covering everything, but here is the rhubarb plant determined that it is spring.
    I started looking around some more, and found every hellebore plant with nodding blooms already open.  The hellebores are also called Lenten Roses, because they bloom during the season of Lent, which according to my calendar is nearly six weeks away at this point.  I spied green buds swelling on the combination plum tree, that has yet to ever bloom or fruit, so it is still a mystery what varieties have been grafted onto the central trunk.  Daffodil, tulip, muscari and bluebell leaves all are pushing their way out of the soil. Then from the corner of my eye, I saw something golden in the mulch around the blueberries... crocuses.  It really must be spring.
    All this early growth worries me.  Most all of these early risers will withstand the frosts, but if we get an ice storm, or snow that melts and freezes, most of the growth will be doomed to start again late, or never again. I wonder if an early spring is definitely upon us, and we will have an early summer too, or if there will be devastation in a few weeks time as winter resumes. 
  As I type this, I am nestled in a comfy chair, in a spot of sun, with a warm mug of barley tea, relishing in these glorious pseudo spring days.  I can feel the sun's rays penetrate my soul. 

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