Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring is springing

We've had an unseasonably warm spell the past week, and I'm not talking just a little above normal, which is 6 degrees (42 Fahrenheit) this time of year. It's been in the mid- to high-20s (70s and 80s Fahrenheit). This is weather we normally expect in late May and early June, not the middle of March.

So, needless to say, my gardens are going crazy.

We have four main beds in the yard: along the front of the house (which we don't do much with, since it's mostly in the shade), under the back window, the main garden out back that has the pond and waterfall, and one along the shed/storage barn to the side of the yard. We've also got a couple of small beds and plants along the fence Dave built last Spring.

Anyway, because of this insane weather, everything is starting to bud. We've got iris, lupines, beebalm, delphinium, columbine, cone flowers, bleeding hearts, and lily of the valley all coming up. My honeysuckle vines have big new leaves. All our shrubs have leaf buds, and our lilac trees - especially the one out back that gets full sun all day - have leaf buds the size we saw in early May last year. (Last year was a particularly cool Spring, though, and things were a couple of weeks later than usual.)

I've gotta say, I'm a little bit worried about what this might mean. A cold snap could kill everything, and then we'd be screwed for the rest of the summer. Or if things keep going the way they are, will everything die a lot earlier this year, because it bloomed earlier? If that's the case, I have to make sure I buy some late-blooming annuals to fill in some of the bare spots...

I'm also wondering how this weather might influence migrating birds. Will everything come through early? The only new arrival we've had in the past week are the killdeer who like to fly around our fields screaming their little heads off. The number of Grackles, Starlings, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Red-winged Blackbirds, and House Sparrows invading our yard continues to climb, though. Unfortunately. Our feeders are getting emptied out with alarming speed. And last night we saw a pair of House Sparrows trying to stake out one of our nesting boxes. (All I can say to that is: Nuh-uh. Not gonna happen, you little feathered bastards.) But I've already seen reports of ruby-throated hummingbirds as far north as Michigan, and there have been tree swallows spotted locally. I know I'll feel silly doing it, but I think I'm going to put out a hummingbird feeder or two this weekend, just in case. Same with our Oriole feeder. Better safe than sorry, right?

Also, note to self: have Dave get the pond cleaned up and running.

Anyway, it'll be interesting to see how the season continues to unfold. Things are supposed to cool off a bit after tomorrow, but we're still going to be above average. Most of our lows are still going to be higher than the normal high temps for the this time of year, and and it doesn't look like we'll get anywhere close to freezing.

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