Spring for the Day

Yesterday a friend dropped the 'S' bomb on Facebook ---snow. Goodness this is crazy.We are finally in spring and all that comes with like flowers blooming, birds singing and people wearing shorts and flip flops. We are done with snow, or so I thought.. sigh  As gardener I know nothing is certain; there is much that can throw a curve ball at the gardens. Luckily I was able to spend a bit of time at Ault Park yesterday to soak in the warm weather, spring breezes and the flowers. Oh my the flowers!!!

The walk along the Adopts-a-Plots is carpeted with freshly falling magnolia petals. 

The hillsides re bursting with color as the cherry trees put on their spring show. 


It's the Second Wave of Early Spring

How can you not love Winter Aconite? Snow and ice still covered the ground yet these harbingers of spring were blooming away, turning their bright yellow faces to the sky.

Yesterday, as I walked around the park on what felt like the first warm day of spring, not to be confused with the rest of this coming week which promises more snow (cripes!), the Winter Aconite was already starting to fade, leaving center stage to the newest blooms, those of the daffodils.

Many of the Witch hazels were still blooming like mad, sending out small fireworks of yellow, orange and rust from their slender stems.

I think it is all together fitting that some of the earliest spring blooms are small, requiring us to really look and take the time to appreciate them and what they mean; that with each small bloom spring is tiptoeing in.


Ault Park Greets March with New Blooms

It was subtle, but the signs of spring were everywhere in the park this morning...  That is, if you know where to look! Witch Hazel is a go-to thank goodness it is blooming it must be spring soon tree. If you don't have one and you have room in your garden I highly recommend planting one this year. There is nothing like seeing the crazy little flowers of this early spring/late winter bloomer when everywhere else you look is cold, grey, ice and snow. These beauties are a lovely sight for sad eyes.

As I was walking down this path with snow and ice crunching underfoot I remembered how my garden in Northern Wisconsin had two springs. The first spring came to the front of the house which was bathed in sunlight. The back of the house, colder and north facing was always a few weeks behind, especially around the garage where snow from the roof was dumped- extending winter's hold on that little garden even longer. 

It is not really a bad thing, to have micro-climates in your yard or a park. If we are lucky, for a few weeks we get to walk in a winter garden and an early spring garden on the same day.

Here, in the shady, cooler area of the grounds the early spring flowers were a bit slow to open. However, the Winter Aconite was making a good show of it and entertaining guests; bees!  Next to seeing Witch Hazel in bloom, seeing bees skipping from flower to flower is a real treat after a long winter.


We have Blooms!

In all honesty I had no business heading to the park this morning. I have been fighting another rude cold and was drained, sore and already chilled. But the birds were singing, the morning sky looked so inviting and the weatherman promised no rain, snow or sleet until later in the day. So I headed up with the excuse that fresh air would do me good.

As I walked about the park a cold, bitterly damp wind kicked in and tiny drops of ice started to fall. At one end the sky was dark, at the other end bright. The weather was as confused as the park goers who ranged in attire from full on arctic gear to shorts and shades.

Despite the biting wind I wast thrilled and smiling; anticipating what I was about to see. After so many years visiting and gardening in the park I know the grounds as if they were my own backyard garden. I know where lizards like to scamper, where the snakes prefer to sun themselves, which walk is best for seeing goldfinches and which spots always bloom just as winter begins to loosen its grip.

Today I was treated to the first signs of spring; winter aconite, snow drops and witch hazel.


Soon, Soon my Garden Friends

That is what we are telling each other the past few weeks.  Soon the ground will thaw, spring will arrive and we will see our first blooms.

I am not one to rush winter, I enjoy all the seasons and winter is just a time to relax, read garden books and make plans for the spring. However, as of late, the weather has been a bit grumpy. We have ice, lots of ice. The sidewalks are coated and treacherous. My usual walk to work has been replaced by a short drive. Feels so wrong to drive to work that is less than a mile away.

To ease the pain of this bitter cold, ice crusted last few weeks, I had the Ault Park adopt-a-plot gardeners over for our first meeting of the season. It was so nice to see their smiling, frozen faces and talk gardens for a few hours. We could let our minds drift to warmer days spent playing in the gardens.

Isn't that why garden clubs are so popular? We get to garden with friends and when the weather turns sour, AKA, frozen to the core, we still have each others' company and garden inspired events to ease us through the dark, could days of winter. 


More Snow

The other day, as I prepped my camera and finished my post-Yoga coffee a wackadoodle pulled up a few spots from me and just stared.  I thought, how odd, went back to my coffee and camera and looked up to see he was still staring at me.  

Deciding it was not the best time for me to get out of my car, alone, with my camera I drove around the park to find a new place to venture forth. Strangely enough, there were no other cars. The park can be quite quiet at times but never this quiet and with that odd ball around the bend, I thought it best to head home and return to photograph the park another day.

In the five years I have been gardening, walking and photographing the park this is only the second time that I got that nervous feeling in my pit and a little voice saying- yeah, something is amiss here go home

Five years and only twice. I think that is pretty good, yes?

As luck would have it, it snowed yesterday. The big, fat, fluffy flakes that float around as if shaken in a snow globe. While I was not able to go to the park due to work, I still have a few more snow pictures to share from an earlier great snowfall. 



Not Too Long Ago ...

I need to make some changes here and with all my projects. Last year I left my 'regular' job to work on some big writing and photography projects. I also started working in a local shop, freelancing and swapping blog posts for yoga classes as well as tending to my gardens at the park and hopefully working as a seasonal gardener again this year for the park. Well, sadly something has to give. 

I will never give this blog up- I spend far too much time at the park gardening, walking, and taking photos not to have something to share here. But the posts may be more photo centered than in years past. I hope you will still visit this blog.