Monday, March 26, 2012

The Winter That Wasn't, The Spring That Isn't, and Zombies

Too Soon
      So far this season is a mess.  
      After a ridiculously tepid winter, lacking nearly all the icy shimmer and blustery cold snaps that my romantic heart is fond of, we were met with, ahead of the actual equinox, temperatures in the 80's. My cats were on the floor with their tongues lolling out like high it was noon in Death Valley.
     What a disappointment. Spring should unfold gently, revealing hints and clues to its forthcoming splendor, not hammer us like a bomb. In view of this current disaster, I've officially declared 2012 to be the War on Spring. Bill O'Reilly has not returned my emails, but I suppose he's too busy polishing his forthcoming book on climate science, I Only Believe What I Say (Well, Maybe that Foxy Ann Coulter, Sometimes.)
     Maybe it's my age, but I can't remember ever feeling so doomy-gloomy about the state of the environment, and this is from a guy who predicted in grade school that earth would end in smoldering ruins by our own hands, with everyone screaming, "How did this happen? I put a brick in my toilet tank!"
    Our weather ship now sails into unknown waters, raising numerous, unsettling questions. On March 21st the BBC science news reported on a study published in the journal Nature: "Experts warn that the [warmer temperature] changes will lead to a breakdown in symbiotic relationships with ecosystems, such as plants' dependence on pollinators."
     Crikey, this scares the dandruff off my scalp. "Pollinators" means the whole massive lot, including bees, beetles, flies, wasps, moths, ants and a slew of vertebrates such as bats and hummingbirds. It's bad enough that these organisms have already been in decline since the mid 20th century, thanks to a host of injurious assaults ranging from habitat loss to pesticide use. 
     Soil temperatures here are already in the 60's. My roses, which normally begin pushing tender buds in very late April, are flushed with bright green leaves. The elms in the woods are far ahead of schedule, bursting with bronze foliage. My early variety daffodils are already kaput. I've mowed the field, twice.  
     I once read how important it is for us to slowly transition ourselves through the season changes because it's healthy for our circadian rhythms--wearing shorts on the first warmish day of March gets the brain in a tizzy. Sure, when the first warmish day of March is 60 degrees, it's exhilarating. Even people who don't golf rush out to buy a set of clubs. But when I'm sweating buckets and cursing the heat before I've sowed my first crop of salad greens, it's ominous. I half expect the dead to crawl from their graveyards.  
     March is the now the new May, and if our future gardens become too hot for peas to germinate, at least we'll have an endless supply of zombies to hand pollinate our banana crops and pick our coffee beans.  
     Until the apocalypse arrives, here are a handful of pretty, and untimely, things from my garden.

Golden Throated Species Tulip

Deep Purple Species Tulip
Pale Daffodil, Looking Up

Pinky Pink-Pink Hyacinth

Narcissus, Unashamed
Flamin' Species Tulip

They Look Like Lotus!
Hella B.
A Circle of Dainty Dancers

Hortense Hellebore

Red Flash Species Tulip

For. SIGH. Thee. Uh.

Spare. Gus. Tips.
Ari Muscari


Shane VanOosterhout is The Passionate Gardener.  
For more garden inspiration, you can follow him on Facebook

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