It’s been only three months when I last saw flowers in our garden but it seems a very long time ago. The longing get worse when I see flowers in other bloggers gardens that are still blooming or spring flowers that have already come up. Wishing that we lived in a warmer climate usually grips us at this time of year. But gardening and beekeeping in extreme weather is a fun challenge and keeps me on my toes. Good planning and timing is pretty crucial. I have never been obsessed with checking weather this much in my life. So many people I know wake up in the morning and check Facebook, Twitter, Email, even Snapchat, …I check the weather.
Finally, winter has released her grip in my neighborhood. It has been warmer most days now: above 30°F and some days above 50°F. Early spring plants are responding accordingly.
And, my longing turns to itchiness. Itching to get my hands in the dirt, get my arms scratched by the rose bushes, get bitten by insects, get natural vitamin D and end my day with aches and pain BUT happy and fulfilled.
Waiting for spring to come seems like forever. I should have be used to it by now, roughly three months of cold, wet weather with snow on the ground or freezing rain before I can garden outside again. But, it’s never been that easy.
When plant and seed catalogs start to fill up my mailbox that’s when I start getting itchy. Seeing new plants I want to put in the garden and looking outside for good spots to put them makes me feel helpless. I want so much to be out weeding, pruning and digging in the garden, but it’s beyond my control. In years past, I would spend time down in the basement among the tropical plants, some of whom still flower in winter, as consolation.
With a beehive sitting out in the garden for the first time this year, I go outside more in winter. I schedule a check on the hive once a week to make sure they are fine: no dead bees blocking the entrance, no woodpecker holes, no raccoon or skunk break-in evidence. I would check on it more often than once a week if the weather were more erratic to make sure that no snow blocked either main or top entrances and nothing was blown off the hive. What can I say, they are part of our family now like the other wildlife in our garden. The ones that are willing to co-exist and share with others are welcome and we try to treat them all well. I’m not going to mention the ones that are not well behaved like the house sparrows, etc.
On my last trip out to check on the hive, I also saw other signs of life here and there. Green! I’m not talking about pine trees, yews (Taxus) and rhododendrons, but little greens that cling to the ground or on the trees. Snowdrops (Galanthus) have pushed their little tips above the melting snow. Ferns stay fresh, and lichen and mosses look crisp. We had single digit temperatures outside a couple of days ago, but there is no sign of frost burn or wilting on them now at all.
It’s a different kind of beauty, a different kind of toughness. One hundred million years of nature nurtured.