Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pre-spring 2011

The winter chills and snows are now receding from our collective memories, at least until December. The days are getting longer, warmer, windier. I've had a remarkable number of American robin in the yard. They like the berries of my holly tree. For years and years I waited for that holly to bear fruit and it's only been the last ten years it has done so. Robin don't move far from here over winter although some winter counts have had robin and some haven't. Where they might be hiding is another question. We ought to be seeing Cedar waxwing soon, too. They tend to flock in the trees and then move en masse to the next tree and the next and the next. More like a swarm of starling than herds of foraging robin.

Even though the weather is warming past experience says to never say it's over until about May 1. We remind each other of a freak snow storm in about '95 when all of Johnson City was buried to the roof lines and power was off over most of the town for a week. Yet, that was in March or April. The overnight lows never got below mid-30s. The day time temps were in the 50s or 60s. The snow melted in two or three days but the power was so disrupted it wasn't restored for a week.

I have Periwinkle (Vinca minor) just starting to pop a blossom here and there. I'd swear I can see a tiny bud on the Forsythia but my Forsythia is in such bad shape it could do just anything and I wouldn't be surprised. I said all Winter I was going to cut it back and it may be too late. I don't know that I could hurt it much. By the back stoop, the stone crop is showing a little white bud but the rest of the stone crop isn't. Some crocus is up around the neighborhood. But, the first and foremost sign of Spring are the daffodil. Some have a bloom about the size of your thumb just ready to burst out and the yard has plenty of green about two inches high. All this makes a body want Spring to hurry up and get here.

I am about to lose another flowering Mimosa "tree." Mimosa is a shrub, I believe, but give it time and it'll grow tall and capture a lot of light and form some stout wood-like core. I have a pair of trunks that measure about eight inches across each. And the first I cut down last summer to put more sunlight on the grass and flowers in that part of the yard. Don't cry for the Mimosa. It'll come back with a vengeance. But the wood is very dense. One log was about seven feet long and I could not budge it. Even after cutting it in half, the pieces were really heavy. In late summer the Mimosa and Magnolia both bloom and produce a sweet odor although some people think it is sickly sweet. On those hot summer nights, it kind of nice.

But, what the one trunk was doing was holding the second up and over the winter this second weakened and died. The top is gone and so now I have a trunk of about fifteen feet just holding on. My copse of trees is not beautiful or elegant but it is nice to have but like everything it decays and renews. I just have to make the renewals work.