Winter Withdraws & Signs of Spring
Bulbs and blooms are already sticking their heads out of the soil, eager to feel the sun's rays on their petals. On such warm days, pollinators are emerging and are intent on visiting.
Although winter was slow to start, it now yearns to end. Ironically, this was the year that I embraced the dormant season and discovered a new found beauty in the still of the garden. Perhaps its brevity just made it all the more treasured.
It is the quiet awakening of the garden that thrills each day with a new arrival. The blueberry shrubs are putting on buds that get plumper by the day. Soon, they will burst open to welcome the bees' services.
It won't be long now, and the earliest butterflies will emerge and brave the elements to tour the garden in search of the sunshine yellow blooms of the Carolina Jessamine, which are at present barely peaking out.
Preparing for a brilliant show, the resilient coral honeysuckle is on the cusp of greeting the first hummers with its flaming flowers. Most certainly encouraging them to remain in our neck of the woods and find a nesting spot up in the tall trees of the nearby forest.
At the edge of the woods, the oakleaf hydrangea are budding with excitement. As are the big leaf magnolia. These florae are much more cautious, and it will be some weeks until these beauties begin to leaf out.
But despite the excitement of spring, winter is withdrawing with its own sense of loveliness. The turkey tail fungi, once a riot of browns, blues and purples has lightened to a pale cream.
More fungi blooms, fading with grace.
Mostly devoured by the birds and squirrels, the remains of the Sycamore achenes dangle like forgotten ornaments against the crisp blue sky.
Whilst the Echinacea purpurea have been demolished by visiting birds throughout the winter chill, they still stand tall charged with the hopes of the next generation to provide for the pollinators.
If the witch hazel is the winter cheering squad, committed to keeping the party going, then the bluebird's early house hunting, is a sure sign that spring is just around the bend.