The times, they are a-changing

Olivia Fowler

Olivia Fowler

On the Way

By Olivia Fowler

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, there’s a 50 percent probability that the last frost date for our area is March 31.

This means it’s highly likely that any bedding plants put out before that date will get zapped, except for pansies.

Even though we know this with our brains, our hearts tend to ignore this information. That’s why so many of us can be seen strolling optimistically through garden centers, greenhouses and nurseries, prematurely investing our hopes and dreams into a flat of bedding plants that may have to be replaced.

It’s so hard to be patient when we’re longing for winter to be over.  But we’re getting close. Daylight Saving Time is just over the horizon, and that’s not a bad thing. I’ll gladly get up in the dark if the temperature is in the 70s. At least I’ll be glad a little later in the day.

The first sign of spring is not the robin. There have been robins in the yard throughout this winter, poor little things. I don’t know what they think they’re going to subsist on, as even the worms stayed in the ground during the polar blast. We continue to put wild bird seed into the feeders, even though the price has risen enough to give us sticker shock.

I enjoy seeing them so much when the days are bleak. During the days of snow and ice, the birds converged on the feeders. They were beautiful. There are few things prettier than bright red cardinals against a snowy background. They all vied for a place at the dinner table. The doves had plenty of seed scattered on the ground beneath the feeders. Chickadees and nut hatches were nimble enough to dart in and out among the larger birds to snatch their share.

And of course there are blue jays in abundance, although that’s a case of beauty being only skin deep. They’re a beautiful color but will take over the feeder, bullying the other birds.

Our squirrels have enjoyed a bumper crop of acorns. And our chipmunks or ground squirrels have also enjoyed destroying tulip bulbs and canna lily tubulars. I did manage to hang on to five tulips by planting them in a pot. For some reason this seems to offer some protection.

No matter how foolish it is, odds are that I will not be able to hold out until March 31 to start digging holes in the ground. If early plants are in danger, they can always be covered when there’s a frost warning. It’s not as if thousands will be planted.

Over the years, perennials have replaced annuals in my plans, although I do like to put out a few old favorites. And sometimes impatiens and coleus will reseed themselves.

The varmints have eliminated the lives of almost all my hostas, but there will still be ferns. And, thankfully, varmints don’t seem to care for jonquils, so those bright faces are already open and turning to the sun.

Our azaleas had a difficult winter and will require a lot of attention to recover their health.

It won’t be long. The sun comes up a little earlier every morning and lingers later.

Bring on spring. We’re more than ready.