Signs of Spring

I took a stroll around the yard this morning in search of signs of spring. Even though it is still winter, with a chance of snow in a day or two, I have noticed a lot of new growth in my garden beds lately.

Unlike many parts of the U.S., we’ve had a fairly mild winter in South Carolina. Our white Christmas (which hasn’t happened here in 50 years) made a lot of people smile. The next snowfall did not. It was by no means a blizzard, but it did shut things down for 2-3 days. Six to eight inches of snow is devastating when you don’t have the equipment or manpower to remove it. Our winter dread is ice. Ice storms can knock out the power for days on end, create harrowing driving conditions, and cause major property damage (trees falling on houses!). Give me snow any day.

I have to admit that I’m not quite ready for spring. I’d like to see at least one more snowfall this season. Nothing is as peaceful as watching the snow fall from the front porch with a hot peppermint patty warming my palms. So, why the search for signs of spring? I did it for the people who are sick of winter and need a little hope.

This is what I discovered during my stroll…

1.       My hydrangeas don’t seem to realize that their attempts to leaf out will most likely be foiled before spring rolls around. Still, they insist on sending out a few leaves from their base. I call these brave souls The Infantry. Do they think the cold weather won’t notice them tucked in under the old growth?

2.       The same is true for my Autumn Joy sedum. I have five clumps of it and every single one has an impressive amount of fleshy new growth. Unlike the hydrangeas, the new growth of the sedum isn’t prone to cold weather damage. If you’re looking for a low care, showy perennial with winter interest, I highly recommend this plant. They are also extremely easy to propagate from cuttings.

3.       Along my walkway, is a little drift of snowdrops. The leaves started showing themselves about six weeks ago. In March, I will have a micro snowstorm of dainty, precious snowdrops.

4.       The dogwoods are among the first trees to bloom in the spring. The specks of pink and white scattered throughout the otherwise brown woods and yard makes my heart sing.

5.       The Tulip, or Saucer, magnolia is probably my favorite flowering tree. It’s hard to believe that such large, stunning blooms emerge from the tiny pussy willow-like buds. This tree blooms before its leaves even think about coming out. A Tulip magnolia in full bloom is an amazing sight. It’s like a giant cone of cotton candy.

6.       When you enter my driveway, the gorgeous blooms of the bearded irises are the first to greet you. They came with the house, which we bought it six years ago. They haven’t declined a bit over the years. The previous owners told us that the irises came from the home of a friend’s deceased grandmother. It’s nice to carry on her legacy in the form of a living thing. As I admire their blooms, I often wonder about the woman who first planted them. I think she would be pleased that I am watching over them and enjoying their beauty.

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