Creating a wildlife haven one plant at a time

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Winter Withdraws & Signs of Spring

February is the month that eases us into the splendors of spring. We've had a break in our chilly weather and as the mercury jumps up and down in the thermometer, I am reminded that winter will soon be over. The birds know it too.  Sitting diligently at my desk gazing out at the bright blue sky I hear them singing. It  makes me contemplate whether or not this is a sign that birds enjoy warm, sunny days as much as I do. After all, I don't hear their magnificent performances on cold, gloomy days. Do you?


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.

blueberry buds
The tease of spring is inducing the Jane magnolia to open, but so far she is playing it safe, perhaps knowing that launching too early may not be a good idea.


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.


21 comments:

  1. The photo of the bird singing is just amazing! As you welcome spring, we are still in the midst of winter - January & February are the coldest months of the year around here. But not too much longer. In just over a month, we will likely be seeing those tell-tale signs that winter is coming to an end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good news is February is almost over and you'll be moving into spring before you know it. It tends to sneak up on me most years and I find myself behind in all my garden chores.

      Delete
  2. It definitely looks like everything is waking up! The Coral Honeysuckle is beautiful, and I do miss seeing Carolina Jessamine in bloom everywhere come spring. There is a more cold hardy cultivar that I've thought of planting somewhere in my garden if I can find a spot - it's such a welcome yellow in spring! Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, if there is a hardier cultivar I'd be all over that in your neck of the woods. I am sure it was a huge adjustment to learn to garden in a different zone. I remember when we moved to Texas and it was a major learning curve, different plants, soil, and weather.

      Delete
  3. Now that I think about it, I believe you're right about the birds, although Carolina wrens seem to sing all year! Great picture btw. I love Carolina wrens. A pair has been nesting successfully under our front porch for years now (even since the house was moved), and we're always finding "bachelor pad" nests in funny unlikely places.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's true the wrens do sing all year long. They like sneaking into my husband's workshop on cold winter nights and I'll see them singing perched on the lawnmower handle. They are characters!

      Delete
  4. I really enjoyed this post, Karen. Beautiful photos and thoughts. I see you enjoy birds as much as I do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed! I could, and do, spend hours observing and photographing them. A lively addition to all gardens!

      Delete
  5. Love the pictures. They do say "spring."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dorothy! It is always exciting to watch the next season unfold.

      Delete
  6. I'm so glad our gardens are waking up. I noticed the buds on our blueberry bushes today, too--yay! Your photography is always so lovely and inspiring, Karin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Julie! Notice the diagonals? Yup, when I was out photographing these I kept thinking about Bob's talk and trying to incorporate some of his tips.

      Delete
  7. Your spring is early for me....I have similar weather and blooms in March...so will be looking for birds and blooms in about a month. Still cold and snow here.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Your coral honeysuckle is lovely! A few buds are just beginning to open here. I am so ready for spring to arrive!

    ReplyDelete
  9. It is great that the torture season for those in winter climates is now ending, and lives are emerging again. Till now it is still a mystery to me where the small insects are in winter, wonder how they can withstand those temps.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Love that first picture, the bird seems to truly be singing his heart out I don't have blueberries, but I find that the little round buds of spicebush are fun to watch this time of year for signs of swelling.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Karin, this looks promising! I had this same idea this morning during my daily jogging by the park near home, I am going to take my camera tomorrow and shoot blooms and buds that are announcing that spring is coming. Although I would prefer more of this winter storm we are having this weekend, it doesn't feel like we had a winter this year and I'm not ready yet for more hot climate.

    ReplyDelete
  12. You are so fortunate to have Spring so close, Karin. We seem to have a long, snowy, cold. wintry wait. Last night though, 58°. Tomorrow low 20°s.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Beautiful pictures! :)

    Julia
    https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/philly-with-a-fjallraven-philly-photography-14621583

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love waking up to birdsong. It's one of my favourite things about the change from winter.
    It is always encouraging to read that spring is starting to put in an appearance even if it is somewhere else. I saw a springtime robin just the other day and hoped it can make it through until next week when the temperatures are to climb again. Just after I saw the robin, we were hit by a snowstorm. Now finding food will be difficult. Hopefully the robin will make it through what I hope is the last big snowfall of the season.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Birds are singing here, but the plants are still wary of the weather. In the 60° range here this week, yet winter likely is not through with us. Can't wait for the butterflies!

    ReplyDelete

"Don't wait for someone to bring you flowers. Plant your own garden and decorate your soul"

Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment...I love hearing from you!