It may only be a hair’s-breadth over a week into February, but spring is on the way. Really. I had to stop myself getting too carried away with the spring gardening project list when I realized The Change was coming in late January. Well, considering what has appeared on the list so far, I guess it’s never too early to at least start the list, if it is indeed too early to actually start the projects.
I’ve started the mid-winter garden assessment. After noticing that certain trees are already preparing for spring–notably the swelling of buds on the willows around the lake–I’m seeing sprouts everywhere. Bulb foliage has sprung up overnight. The daylily clumps are showing bright, new green deep in their bases. My roses are lining up at the gate, as it were, the dormant buds beginning to grow larger and visible leaves forming, if not unfurling yet. And tonight, while on a walk around our block, my husband and I spotted the first blooming rhodie of the year. Blooming! I don’t think I’ve noticed any others that are even close.
In the garden I have plenty to anticipate. I get to plan another year’s worth of veggies. More lettuce, definitely, since it did so well last year. Same with radishes and kale, since the thinnings were unbelievably delicious in a salad last year. Swiss chard and beets and carrots? Maybe…..I’m sure I can squeeze a few in here and there! I’ll try squash again, and even tomatoes, because I won’t let the foggiest summer in recorded history dampen my excitement for warm-weather harvests. I have beds to clean out, full of small branches and fir cones and early weeds. I’ve got a long border to re-edge and widen a touch, and blueberries to get in the ground. We have a hardscaping project ahead of us, putting in a pad and path for our trash cans so we can be free of the muddy mire that is our side yard. I have a small fountain to put in, along with new plants to accompany it. And this year I’m also looking forward to new pots with both seasonal displays and more permanent fixtures to soften and enhance our outdoor living space.
In the meantime, it’s too early to actually do anything other than dream about these things. I content myself by just going out when it’s reasonably dry, doing my “garden
check”. Seeing what’s still hanging in out there, and what has decided to make another appearance this year. I see new buds forming, new life stirring. I see the single strongest kale of what I planted last year survived not only a summer of bugs but a winter in which I was quite remiss in not tucking it in with some mulch the last time I mowed the lawn. I see my fava beans, just as my books said, slow-growing through the winter but still green and soldierly and reaching. Spring is coming. Can’t you feel it?