Spring Always Catches Me in My Pajamas

Is that you, Spring, Knocking at my Door. . .Already?

Could you come back another day, give me a chance to comb my hair? Maybe set a spell, have a glass of tea. . ..

Never fails, I spend the entire winter out in the freezing cold, raking, weeding, pruning, mulching.

Well, maybe not the entire winter. And maybe not in the freezing cold. Thankfully, there was all that rain and drear to keep me inside on the couch with a book.

A winter caper: Freezing weather bursts a hose and enshrines a hydrangea in ice

Every year I pat myself on the back. This will be the year, I say, that I will glide around the garden in chiffon skirts and satin slippers and posies in my hair instead of baggy britches and muddy boots and a dingy straw hat on my head.

Well, Spring says to me, Y’all (I guess she’s got some southern blood) complained so about the rainy winter. And I still feel bad about leaving you out in the cold last March. So I thought I’d surprise you and slip in for a quick visit to perk you up.

Daffodils planted in woods flattened by Hurricane Isabel in 2003 still going strong

Uh, how considerate. Were you thinking of helping with chores, or were you planning to cheer on the weeds?

Oh dear, I don’t mean to get in the way. I could leave now and you won’t have to see me again till oh, maybe some time beginning-middle of April.

Well shame on me for being so saucy. (Where’s my southern hospitality?)

From inside the house we can watch blooms of  quince ‘Jet Trail’ explode,  early native honeysuckle weaving its way through the “sticky’ bush

But Spring is such a tease, don’t you think? Pops in for a minute, then skiddoos away. Winter may be doing the dealing, but Spring is the wild card, a joker in the weatherman’s game of poker.

Problem is, the plants (and sometimes the gardener) think it’s the real deal. They’re sure they have winning hands. They start throwing out aces, kings, deuces, whatever they have, with the giddy highs of winners.

After all these years, they still haven’t learned when to hold ‘em, or maybe even fold ‘em, quit being over-bold, take a pass on winter’s cold.

Magnolia ‘Leonard Messel’ seems to tolerate cold days

Those wily winter weeds, now, they are the big winners, kings of the Craps Table. They can parlay a stingy roll on a cold day into a meadow. Not a loser among ‘em. High rollers all.

Their blossoms roll into seeds that roll into new plants that roll into blossoms that roll into seeds. . . And the winnings pile up and the gardener kneels down.

Quince ‘Toyo nishiki’ interrupted by a red ‘mistake’ lifts eyes and spirits away from weeding

Don’t go, I call out, apologetically. It’s true, you’re early but. . .

Truth is, those daffodils get positively perky in your late afternoon sun. They don’t mind winter’s chill, what with that zippy sugar-water anti-freeze in their veins.

‘Ice Follies’, a reliable bloomer in our southern wet land

And the forsythia’s positively flouncy. And the quince is bubbling with color. And the ogon spirea, that lovable mop top, is having such good hair days lately.

‘Ogon’ spirea in fall

And when you roll that big bright ball of a sun up through the trees at 7 am, or is it 8 am now, I must confess I’m lovin’ it.

‘Ogon’ spirea today with nandina berries in the background

Who am I kidding? I’ll take your wild cards any day while winter is still dealing the weather.
I’ll put on my baggy britches, my muddy boots and my dingy straw hat and cheer.

Star Magnolia seeks center stage among blooms of our favorite camellia

Can buds, blossoms, and birdsong be far behind? Do stay a while. Only can’t we slow everything down and stop for a cup of tea?

And by the way, Mademoiselle Spring, I do like your sun on my back

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