I have lived in Florida all of my life and I have never seen spring come so early. Other native-born gardeners, who have been around longer than me, have said they haven’t seen anything like this themselves. It has been the main topic of many people across the country this year.
I’m not one to dwell on climate changes that I don’t understand. I accept whatever the weather will be that day. I feel it’s pointless to pass judgment on the skies because I know that I have absolutely no control. I usually just try to make the best of it. I will confess I am terrified of lightning and those stormy days are challenging, but I don’t get angry at the weather.
Recently the panhandle had a lot of rain on the radar and very little sun. As Floridians, it was difficult for many to adjust to the change. It was discussed everywhere I went. I didn’t really mind that much. As our seasons change from winter to spring we get some gray weather. The saying goes, “April showers brings May flowers.” Well for us here in North Florida it’s usually more like March showers brings April flowers. I know because almost every year it rains on my birthday. However, this year due to the lack of cold weather, we’re more along the lines of February showers brings March flowers. It was a gorgeous day on my birthday for a change.
The point I’m trying to make is we need all that rain to prepare the plants for the heat of the summer. As it poured down, I watched my newly laid out flower bed filled with manure. While watching I smiled because that rain was helping the manure enrich the soil. I also applauded the rain for all the water I collected, which I used to water my packed out greenhouse. Rainy weather makes perfect conditions to work in the greenhouse. Not to mention the sound of it coming down while I worked brought me tranquility. Another benefit I received was that the cuttings I had recently taken were able to adjust accordingly because there was no hot sun beating on them.
Then there was those couple of days when it wasn’t quite raining, but soft droplets filled the air. It reminded me of my trip to Oregon during the winter. Even though it rained every day, it was so light that most women would put on a baseball cap and walk around anyway. Therefore, I took the opportunity to do some heavy weeding in a place that usually is ablaze with hot sun. I wore waterproof clothes, a baseball cap, and I weeded in the mist. The weather did not make me sad. In fact it felt very peaceful. It was almost like being in the snow as it floats down. It’s probably the closest to snow we’re going to get.
Now that the skies have cleared and everyone is back to loving the weather, (even though I believe they love it that much more because they were forced to miss it) I keep asking myself is it spring? When I saw the azaleas begin to bloom, I still could not say it was spring yet. Then I realized that due to the undefined lines of our seasons here in Florida, it’s hard to say when it is official. Our seasons tend to blend together smoothly. The changes we experience are subtle and only those who have lived here a long time or are in tune with their surroundings notice them.
So I asked myself when do I consider it spring time? I know there is a “first day of spring” on March 20th, but I let the flowers tell me its arrival. Sure enough, this past week, I noticed two things that made me feel like spring was here. The first one I noticed was the dogwoods blooming. I love their informal growth habit. Their flowers are interesting because the white we see is their sepals. The actual flowers are tiny and in the center.
The second one I observed was the wildflowers blooming in the median of our highways. I think it’s wonderful that our state plants wildflowers along roadsides. The two I saw the most of was verbena and crimson clover.
I can now say that spring time has arrived. It’s a short season for us. For me it means my windows are open, my mornings are spent in the sunroom, and several times a day I walk around my garden searching for awakening plants. Now I’m curious to know what says spring to you? I’m looking forward to hearing your answers!