Monday, March 22, 2010

Signs of Spring





Can it be true? Has spring finally arrived? Has the snowbird finally flown the coop? Well, in my opinion, "Spring is bursting out all over, all over the meadows and the hills..." As the song goes, so goes spring this past weekend, especially here at Blooming Hill and I am all too pleased about it. And, true to form, the annual race to prepare the gardens also arrived right on schedule as it was a work weekend here, to be sure.

In celebration of the arrival of spring we pulled out all of the stops when it comes to tidying up the garden beds and my weapon of choice was the electric hedge trimmer. When you have almost 5oo lavender shrubs to trim before they start breaking, not to mention shrubs and bushes of all kinds that need trimming before they turn too green, what other garden tool would you choose?

Shovels, pruners, manual hedge clippers and the wheel barrel take a close second place in my heart on this beautiful, warm day that seems only to want to tease the most sincere of gardeners--I keep reminding myself that it's still only March--Don't get too excited. Yet, we plowed through, undaunted, with much more work to accomplish in the coming days. Just wait till we pull out the rototiller...oh, what fun that will be! While Peter took the helm with the weed-whacker on this day, by summer, I'll take that task over and he will captain the hedge trimming, tree pruning and mowing--don't feel bad for him--it's a riding mower. Weeding will demand every person available.

However, today, I spied daffodils, pansies and violets all eagerly blooming while irises, scented geraniums, cherry blossoms and tulips as well as hyacinths are making ready to strut their stuff within the next week or so.

Although I missed the first daffodil bloom of the season, legend has it that if a person is lucky enough to find it, she will be blessed with more gold than silver. Daffodils are thought to bring good luck. However, there is a word of caution to this legend. Never just cut one daffodil and bring that into the house on it's own because it may bring bad luck. In the language of flowers, daffodils represent respect, chivalry and regard for others. They certainly are regal looking in any setting, standing straight and lovely, clothed in golden yellow-- rain or shine.

Violets, on the other hand, have long been associated with politics as well as botany and herbal lore. Violets were the symbol for Athens, Greece as long ago as 1000B.C. and Napoleon adapted it as his symbol during his rise to power. It is also a flower that has long been associated with sleep. Many books on herbal medicine have recipes using violets in tinctures or teas to help people fall asleep. These violets growing in my yard are wood violets and are just beginning to bloom in the grass on our front hill under the cover of trees where they receive dappled sunlight. Violets represent sweetness and modesty--hardly characteristics of Napoleon, I'm thinking, but maybe Josephine saw something in him that the rest of the world did not.

And then, there are the pansies--so many colors to choose from at the garden centers all prettier than the next! Pansies have long been associated with Valentine's Day because they are an emblem of love and kind thoughts. These, pictured here, are so welcoming at my front door and they surely can withstand the swings in temperature that this time of the year can bring while always looking perfectly coiffed and frilly at the same time--how do they do that?!

All in all, the welcomed splashes of color throughout the yard make for a wonderfully delightful first few days of spring while readying the garden for future rewards as the season progresses. Good things come to those who wait and we certainly waited more than our fair share this past winter. Of course, there is always more work to be done than there are hours in a day but, Tucker, the ever-watchful foreman spurred us on, making mental notes of all the little things we may have missed for us to tackle on our next "work-in-the-garden" day.

Spring is here, at last!

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