Out of the Zone

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Spring came in a rush, a tumble of images. A month ago, I saw a bear amble across the back field. It might have been my imagination but he appeared to be sleepwalking, loping along almost in a daze. It was hardly spring, still cold, grass not yet green. But time enough for the bears to come out and we had had some warm days. Peepers chattered from the pond. Then came the daffodils and the grape hyacinths. Forsythia burst out in one day, an exclamation of bright yellow against the still-brown landscape. The mountain still had snow. It built like that. A magnolia I planted about four years ago and which has never bloomed, opened, to my surprise, in big dramatic blossoms of pale yellow, the color of a prom dress. I have no recollection of having bought a yellow magnolia and yet, there it is, finally showing its color.

It was all too early, no conversation went by without that remark. Global warming, climate change — a volcano in Iceland brings the world to a halt, could that be connected? We live now on speculation and superstition as it seems that science has run out of answers. Last week, we had snow, several inches here covered the daffodils and the tiny hyacinths, the greening grass. The new tiny leaves on the maple were weighted with the stuff. The mountain went white again. I heard that up north, there was a foot, the road crews were called out with their plows, and some of the ski hills opened for the day. Why not? Good fresh corn snow. Someone built a snowman with the eyes, nose, mouth in stones, not smiling but turned down in sadness. Sticking out of his arm was a bunch of tulips, freshly picked.

I like late April snow, the new white covering the bright green and brilliant flowers makes for good colors and, besides, it never lasts long. And this one surely didn’t. Within a couple of days, not only was the snow gone but I flung open the windows and doors, hoping for a breeze. The needle on the thermometer outside my kitchen window pointed to 90, the daffodils went by (having endured the snow). Last night, I dug the fan out of the closet to move the still, humid air. The magnolia has two dozen large blooms on it, unfazed. And the lilacs are starting to bloom. I could be mistaken but I don’t think I’ve ever seen lilacs in bloom here on the second day of May. Ever. We are a month ahead of ourselves. I love a lingering spring but we will not have it this year. We’ve spun through the spring like a movie on fast forward. I don’t normally plant my garden until Memorial Day, for fear of a late frost. But maybe it’s time to readjust my thinking. Change is all around us, even Climate Zones. I’m suddenly feeling I’ve waited too long to plant. Today, they say, will be another hot and humid day, a summer’s day.

The truth is that it was the snow that was normal, not the bursting flowers and the grass that needs mowing. Will the leaves start turning in August?

  • jacki

    our sping came and went quickly in fla.most of us had to have the air conditioner on because of the Oak pollen. we didn’t get the normal break on the power bills we look forward to from March- May. it’s very dry here now. Watering days are scheduled so any new plants are hard to keep. Not all depressing. we HAVE had some beautiful “Fla spring days”.

  • The spring in New England continues to tease us with highs in the 80’s and lows, like this AM, in the 30’s. Spring gardens are in full bloom and we get out to enjoy the warmth as it is doled out to us. We also retreat to the warmth of the hearth as we look out the windows wondering what has happened to our spring? Has it blown a gasket?
    Putting the plants out to harden becomes as much a part of the everyday as watching for the winter storms.
    A normal spring, snow flurries and thunderstorms, that’s what makes New England well, New England.

  • Chris

    Hi Edie-
    Just read your article-loved it as usual. Since moving to east Tennessee 20 years ago, I still like to keep in touch with home thru YANKEE.I am sitting in the back room looking at my garden.-beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, onions, lettuce, squash, watermelon and cantelope all up!!! I love the longer growing season here but the summers can give a new meaning to hot & humid. It is also a great place for the flower garden. My lilac was beautiful this year. That and irises are ones I brought from the home place in Windham when I moved. Keep the great articles coming – it is manna from heaven to a transplant.

  • Alice

    Hi Edie,

    I’m reading your posting on May 7 in Wisconsin. There is a Winter Weather Advisory tonight for the northern part of the state! In a weather history segment of a local TV station, our little city had 7.5 inches of snow on May 9-10, which was my daughter’s Junior Prom! I imagine many will be scrambling to protect their impatient (not impatiens) plantings. In a newsletter from a local garden store, they tell about a product, Freeze Proof, that can be sprayed on plants to protect them from frost. I’ll just wait until Memorial Day to start on things. Always enjoy reading you. Mrs. Alice Wagner in Wisconsin

  • Sprin in Nebraska has gradually come along instead of the instant spring you in the northeast have had. Luckily, we haven’t had any frosts to damage the new leaves and flowers — fingers crossed! :)


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